Just before England began their EURO 2016 campaign, England midfielder, James Milner, said that it was vital for his team to avoid losing their first match against Russia if they were to do well in the tournament. You might take from this that the team would be focused on doing well in their opening game.
Makes sense. But did Milner’s statement actually reveal an underlying attitude that could really hinder a team as they progress (or don’t) through major competitions.
“It’s just like any other game!” – How many times have you heard someone say that?
Maybe you’re a coach who’s said it to players before an important match. Maybe you’re an athlete who’s heard it from teammates or coaches who are trying to make things as normal as possible in the build up to a big competition. “If we do what we normally do, we’ll be alright.” And you know what, in certain circumstances, yup, that works fine.
You may or may not have come across the concept of Mindfulness before. You might have heard about sports coaches encouraging their athletes to adopt mindfulness practices, or maybe you’ve heard about athletes learning and practicing meditation as part of their training. But what exactly is this thing called Mindfulness, and can it really improve sporting performance?
The build-up, the money, the media circus surrounding the “fight of the century” were all potential distractions, so how might the pound for pound kings have kept their focus for the biggest fight of their lives?