Sports Psychology Football PsychologyIt’s high summer and the majority of Premiership coaches are relaxing on faraway beaches, seeking mental refreshment ahead of fresh challenges. One manager, however, has forsaken the towel and the tan. Stuart Pearce is overseeing the building of Manchester City’s new training centre.

We shouldn’t be surprised at Pearce breaking with convention for it was he who, in the last game of the 2004-5 season, ordered goalkeeper, David James, to play upfield in an attempt to upset a nervous Middlesboro’ defence. Where in the FIFA Coaching Manual could such a tactic be found?

Pearce has added a UEFA Pro Licence, and thoroughness, to a cocktail of courage, pride, honour and defiance, upholding English spirit; a spirit which has endeared him to the English public.

Perhaps, as Pearce develops his own management style, it will lead to the establishment of a new motivational technique, one for which I have invented a neologism: Psychovation.

Here are the Commandments of Psychovation:

Have no fear of failure. The Psychovator doesn’t want to fail, but doesn’t dread it. Importantly, if and when they do fail, they do not regard it negatively. They live by the motto of Queen Victoria; ‘We will not have failure; only success and new learning’. [or Bob Dylan, ‘failure’s no success at all’] They use failure as a chance to improve. For them it is a means of testing their resolve. Ultimately, their desire to succeed is greater than their fear of failure.
Be prepared to stand up and be counted. We remember Pearce at Euro ’96 demanding to take the third penalty in the shoot out against Spain. ‘I’m taking one!!’ The Psychovator is not afraid to stare down the feral beast of history. They welcome the opportunity!
Take personal responsibility for your actions. The Psychovator does not seek to censure others when things don’t work out. Firstly, they look to themselves to see what they might have done differently. For them, the culture of blame is a refuge from accountability.
Remember, a situation can turn in a moment. The Psychovator is not subject to the defeatism of others. They recognise that they have the power to control and change events. They embody the phrase, ‘Choose Your Attitude’. It’s Roy Keane taking on Juventus in 1999; Freddie Flintoff, Edgbaston 2005.
Maintain a strong sense of honour. The Psychovator is a principled, moral individual. They do not seek praise for what they do, [vide Mourinho after Porto’s Champions League success] but they cannot stand by and observe injustice and unfairness. It’s Steve Waugh assisting Indian lepers, or Sir Bob Geldof wanting to make poverty history.
Tell it like it is. Psychovators will speak directly to colleagues whose attitude or behaviour let the team down. They will not tolerate falling standards.
Perhaps it is Shakespeare’s Richard 1 who best captures the spirit of Psychovation

Mine honour is my life; Both grow in one: Take honour from me, and my life is done. Then, dear my liege, mine honour let me try; In that I lie and for that I will die.

Posted in Football Psychology, Sports Psychology Blog.