The Mental Side of Sport
In our rugby show this morning we are looking again at the much undervalued area of mental preparation within sport, covered by the general terms - sport psychology, focus, mindset,attitude - call it what you will.
It’s that extra half inch all top coaches across all sports, talk about. The ability to manage and cope with intense pressure to remain absolutely focussed. The ability to cut out all external noise in order to harness and focus all one’s energy into achieving the desired goal.
There are many famous examples of this in sport but perhaps when it comes to rugby, no more famous a moment than the 2003 Rugby World Cup Final and that famous last minute Wilkinson drop goal.
The ability of a team, with some ninety odd seconds left on the clock, in what undoubtedly was the most important game of their lives, to block everything else out. All emotions, all time pressures; to simply focus on the task of methodically working the ball back up the field into a position to enable Wilkinson to apply the final denouement.
No panic, no wrong moves, all fifteen; although history shows only thirteen of the fifteen actually touched the ball in that final flourish, calmly working towards a common purpose.
In this video James talks about how important the mental aspect of the game is to him and how since he started playing professional rugby at the age of eighteen, he has worked with leading Sports Psychologist Dr Jill Owen to help shape his mental approach to the game.