Category: Sport Psychology

Soccer Tough - Soccer Psychology Book

Soccer Tough by Dan Abrahams | Chapter 10: Kevin’s 10,000 Hours

It wasn’t a gift from birth that helped him score 62 goals as a youth team player in a single season. It was Acton Park, or more precisely the thousands of hours he spent there with his two brothers practicing and playing football. The park in Acton is just a stone’s throw away from Loftus Road, the home of QPR FC and whenever Kevin Gallen went out to play with his brothers Steve and Joe he could see the top of the stadium’s floodlights glistening in the sun. His motivation was visible at all times! Kevin went on to have a successful career as a Premiership striker, a career largely as a result of the amount he practiced and the manner in which he trained. Recent science is showing us that the way we practice determines how good we become at something. This chapter explores the art and science of training and how to develop the soccer game of your dreams. 10,000 hours There is one figure that lays on the lips of many of the world’s finest sports coaches right now – 10,000. It is this number that is believed to be one of the secrets to success. Practice soccer for 10,000 hours and you give yourself a great chance of becoming world class at what you do. But not all soccer fans should get too excited yet. There are, of course, rules and regulations to those 10,000 hours. Some of which I’ll talk about later. It was a…

Soccer Brain Book Cover

Soccer Brain by Dan Abrahams | Chapter 1: The Roots of Creativity

‘The Wizard’ glared at his players. This was first practice, he knew what to say: “I'm not going to like you all the same. You won't like me or each other all the same either. Nor will I treat you all the same.” At first glance this was an obvious opener. ‘The Wizard’ had a mixed set of players – two black, two white, one from a Jewish background – a diverse, All American camp who had to become a team. But these words arrived from experience. This was October 1963 and he had been head coach of the UCLA Bruins basketball programme since 1948. His self-development was in full flow and it was time for moderate success to grow. Certain barriers existed. ‘The Wizard’ lacked magical facilities. A leggy three flights of stairs to a small and squalid gym was hardly inspiring. The practice area itself was more gymnastics than basketball with chalk from the pommel horse having to be mopped up or brushed aside before training. But ‘The Wizard’, also known as Coach John Wooden, was too engrossed to notice the neglected provisions. He had a team to shape, to mould, and to introduce to excellence. As a set of individuals they weren’t fancied. None of them were over 6 foot 5 inches - short in a game of height. But, as it turns out, the opening practice session scheduled in October 1963 saw him take a first glance at what was to be his ‘Potential Team’ –…

What Business Can Learn From Sport Psychology: Ten Lessons for Peak Professional Performance

Making Decisions Under Pressure and Fighting Overthinking: What Business Can Learn From Sport Psychology

As a professional, you are extremely skilled at what you do. We’d bet that you are able to perform your skills without thinking sometimes, like you are on autopilot. Consider driving for a moment. When you get in your car you are about to endeavour upon an extremely complicated and complex process involving the coordination of mind and body to perform intricate movements safely and proficiently. If you have been driving for some time, no doubt you perform these intricate movements without thinking about the precise processes your body and brain goes through to produce them. Maybe when you were learning to drive this wasn’t the case. When learning to drive you probably focused on how to produce these skills to make sure you were being accurate. Each movement was intentional and deliberate. But now you are skilled in driving, and have developed expertise, these movements can be made without having to process each component. In fact, you are able to talk, sing, think about your day, and even navigate (unless you have GPS in which case you will be listening to that intently!) But if we told you that you had to take your driving test again to be able to continue driving - to try to make sure your performance is flawless - you will probably abandon this automatic process and instead break the skill down into its component parts. Are my hands in the right place? Have I checked my mirrors? Am I in the right lane?…

Golf Putting Tips

Golf Putting Tips

Get Better at Putting... Fast! In this article, learn some top putting tips from golf guru Dan Abrahams, author of Golf Tough. Putting is a discipline of precision. It requires pinpoint accuracy. It requires pinpoint control. It’s not like driving the ball, or approach play, where there is margin for error. Push a drive and you can still find the fairway. Pull an approach shot and you may still find the green. Push or pull a putt and you’ll discover that the ball won’t fall into the hole. A golfer with a repetitive putting stroke will succeed more so than the golfer who has an erratic stroke. Return the putter face back to the ball in a consistent manner, at a consistent tempo, and you’ll improve your putting statistics considerably. Developing your putting requires a combination of technical lessons, purposeful practice, and an effective mindset. The simple action of engaging in instruction isn’t enough. You need to practice intelligently and you need to coat your putting technique in thick layers of mental skills. Putting Tips | Purposeful Putting Practice All too often, you see amateur golfers (and some professional ones as well) walk onto the practice putting green, throw two or three balls down, and start stroking the ball mindlessly towards a hole. But this kind of random practice rarely improves matters. Practice requires protocols that take into account your current strengths and weaknesses, and which primarily improve your putting through skills tests. Proper practice delivers pinpoint precision on the…