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The power of the mind

How is a high-performing footballer psychologically prepared for a defining match?

We are facing an unprecedented definition of the most important contest in America, between two classic rivals.To whom will joy and glory touch, and to whom will the pain of defeat and the burdened ones? Although my little football heart is not with either club, it is impossible to abstract from such end.My work as a psychologist was always linked to the clinic and patient care. I had never been interested in sports psychology until something I heard captured my attention and stimulated my thought: Carlos Bianchi's statements when he won the 2003 Intercontinental Cup against the mighty Milan of Ancelotti. A journalist asked him why he had been so quiet during the final, to which Bianchi replied, “We trusted our strength, we knew well what we wanted. We can go wrong, we can do well, but the thing is to be calm with oneself.” Brilliant! Even the best psychologist could have better summarized the sense of inner peace of being well with himself, so typical of when a patient has healed. I never knew whether Bianchi or that Boca were psychologically advised, but we know that sports performance is influenced by psychological and emotional factors such as thoughts, beliefs, feelings, anxiety, stress, self-confidence, motivation, self-esteem and anxiety. What then does a psychologist specializing in sports performance do? How does he work? What tips can you give a footballer on the eve of a momentous match?Unlike a clinical psychologist who works on the unblocking of factors that hinder the realization of desires and in the resolution of unconscious conflicts, the sports specialist focuses on  performance  to obtain the desired sports results. The professional will work for  psychological strength  expressed in consistency and stability in sports performance. The goal is not to heal but to perform optimally to win.What will be going through the players at the moment? How will the psychologists of both campuses work the individual and group mental state? While I never dedicated myself to this specialty, it is nice and fun to imagine what I would do if I could be in the locker room and day to day helping players. Faced with such a momentous competition, the key is to increase self-confidence, emotional control and concentration and to remove stress, insecurity, anxiety and fears. How to achieve it? Identify stress, in what situations it appears and what is its symptomatology.Think about what stresses it and when it appears. To cope with it, strategies such as relaxation (breathing techniques and awareness of muscle groups), visualization (ability to feel, see and hear actions in the mind and project imaginarily into a pleasant situation), control of thoughts and emotions can be used (changing negative thoughts for positive and focusing on the present), analysis and planning (anticipating and studying the opponent and its characteristics so as not to be surprised in the game). Strengthen the concept of TEAM above players . A good team is more than the sum of their individualities. It must have three basic conditions: a common goal, the awareness that depends on each other, and that dynamics depend on interaction between players. The companion is the neighbor and a fundamental part in the operation of the equipment. The link becomes a fundamental part to work. Collective performance must be achieved higher than the sum of individual yields. Work the personal and collective role to prevent negative forces and stimulate positive processes. Dividing responsibilities, establishing duties and rights, valuing each player's contribution to the team, not obsessing with the result or holding on to fears. Develop confidence in the coach and coaching staff. Set goals and establish procedures to achieve them. Be attentive to the formation of sub-groups within the squad and address the group and individual conflicts of the players. listen to their needs, problems, complaints, thoughts and emotions and help them solve them. Be attentive to players who go to the bank and those who are not cited generating a situation of equality and equity of opportunities, duties and rights. Help players find personal responsibility for their motivation. What motivates or dismotivates you, what are your goals, are you afraid to lose or need to win? Helping to understand that losing is not failing if you learn something from it. Learning helps to improve and overcome yourself. Defining your goals guide you in that learning and identifying obstacles prepare you for that overcoming. Develop psychological strength. Working the triangle of self-confidence, emotional control and concentration. Self-confidence is the belief in one's own abilities and abilities, emotional control is the ability to keep negative emotional stimuli away and focus on positive ones. Concentration is the ability to stay permanently attentive and connected with the present, here and now, avoiding relapse into past situations or anxieties about the future. If they work well, the triangle becomes a virtuous circle. Be and seem optimistic and positive. Focus on skills and skills, think about execution and not results, show yourself safe, confident, determined and invincible. Intensely visualize past successes and past achievements. Strengthen playful and participatory aspects within the group. Propose games and entertainments that favor laughter, relaxation, relaxation and group spirit. Help generate empathy with the partner (learn to put yourself in place). Develop the ability to concentrate . Concentration is a fundamental aspect of psychological strength. Developing concentration involves learning to distinguish between relevant and irrelevant, avoiding distorting or distracting stimuli, and increasing the ability to maintain attention for long periods of time. For this it is essential to concentrate neither on the future nor in the past, but on the present, as well as keeping emotions and thoughts controlled. Exercises can be done to increase the ability to concentrate. Anticipate and work by visualizing the possible situations of the match to be played, in order to face them and solve them quickly and functionally . Possible results, training situations (definition by penalties, ball stops or strategies to be deployed in case of result unfavorable). Develop mental power and strength to avoid and cope with injuries.  Stress, nerves, low concentration, anger, frustration and excessive motivation are frequent reasons of pressure that generate conditions for a football player to be prone to injury. Apply these tips within the match. Regulate anxiety before and in the first minutes of the match, make safe passes, do not take unnecessary risks, be attentive to their teammates, relieve a partner who failed or was wrong in his function, identify the moment when the conditions of their own and match are to be released and be creative, be aware of dysfunctional thoughts and emotions to eliminate them, maintain concentration at all times, make intelligent use of physical forces. WIN! That's what every fan expects, isn't it? Tomorrow we will have a new champion, hopefully it is a football party, which is not a war or a question of state, but a game (perhaps the most beautiful in the world). Good luck to xeneixes and millionaires!!!

Rating: 4.00/5.