Football Psychology - Focus on Winning.

Football Psychology - Focus on Winning.
Football Psychology - Focus on Winning.

Football Psychology - Focus on Winning.

Football intermediary/agent: article written by Michael Nichols, Mindfulness Performance Elite Coach, Should you always focus on winning the game?  Mike Nichols, changes the focus on the game and uses himself as an experiment to get the point accross.

I've taken a different angle for this one. I used myself as an experiment.

Over the weekend I had a chance to put a psychological theory into practice first hand.

The theory was to test how mental performance and weight on importance of a game impacts on the outcome.

I coach others how to prepare mentally and put things in place based on their own reality.  Reality is often blurred and distorted with decisions made that can never be achieved due to this imbalance.  So to refresh, I chose to run this experiment for the benefit of others.

I came into the game mentally prepared and focused but rather than focus on winning and playing my best, my mental preparation involved thoughts and visions of negativity or neutral in nature.

Let me explain why I chose this angle. To me, as an individual, winning the league and gaining promotion was the focus all year. Winning the playoffs was never a goal of mine and throughout the season I reminded myself of that fact. During my drive over to the game and build up I refreshed my thoughts about the playoffs not being important.

We won the league, we gained promotion job done.

So today in our final game, the playoff final, I purposely chose not to prepare mentally.

The outcome - we got beaten convincingly! During the game I was aware of my performance, checking in mentally with my thoughts and behaviours and a few things stood out.

1) defensively i played my best. Defensively I was focused. I made a couple of hustle plays that felt great!

2) as the lead grew, I didn't care. There was no sense of urgency or wake up call. I just didn't care.

3) I was aware of the impact my behaviour had on my team. I wasn't as focused as I know I can be. I had no hunger to succeed.

4) I was aware of the performance of my team mates and the other team. They were on fire, we struggled.

5) my age was a factor. I'm 42 going against kids half my age who have the physical gifts I once had but now only exist in my mind.

6) I was aware of us playing poorly but stood back from making choices to give us a better chance of winning.

7) I didn't sulk or moan after the loss like some others on my team did, but congratulated the other team and gained some happiness from their performance, after all they played amazing.

8) I wasn't the only one on my team who played below par.

9) Although I saw what changes needed to be made, I chose not to take control.  I wasn't as proactive as I know I can be in making changes. I coasted.

So my experiment was a success as I proved a lack of mental performance will affect the outcome.

I am writing this publicly to allow others to learn from my experience and know preparation and hunger will impact on the outcome.

Reflecting on my own performance keeps me grounded and humble and hungry to learn more to help other athletes understand why they fail and why they are successful. Today I was a human experiment and I've already compiled my list of how to improve next year. The question I need to answer is am I hungry enough to do anything about it?

If your motivation to succeed doesn't at least match the competition, you're going to fail so it's important to find something, a reason to play your best.

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Mike Nichols is a sports performance specialist. For further details or you want to know how to raise your awareness visit w


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