For those of us following the world cup it’s been both pleasure and pain. Pleasure seeing our chosen team win, and pain watching their tears of failure. We’ve witnessed the highs and lows, have gasped as some of the top teams left and been in awe at the unexpected rise of talent. One thing I know I noticed was where and when the cracks started to appear. – Brazil losing momentum in the second half of the quarter final against Netherlands – England’s loss of drive and passion when playing Germany – Italy’s careless mistakes on the pitch with Slovakia – Ghana’s over-eagerness to win against Uruguay For an avid watcher, it’s easy to shout abuse at the TV screen. We only see the game play; what happens at the time. We miss all the build up, which is the most important part (the preparation and planning). So if we were to see the build up, we might understand why the match played out as it did. If we were so inclined, we could even offer our advice… 1. Research and observe Never play a team you haven’t seen in action. Similarly, never adopt an approach you haven’t tested. The competition has their strengths and weaknesses like everyone else. Learn them. And even better – know how to oppose them. This gives YOU confidence and leverage. 2. Preparation and practice It’s no good Capello locking the England team in a room for hours on end going stir crazy. This breeds boredom, depression and anger – all negative emotions, and especially in Rooney’s case, the latter was unbelievably apparent on pitch. What the team needs is the team. That means practicing strategy against the researched competition, working together and devising ways to thawt the other team’s efforts. Basically psyching up and feeling energised. 3. Have the right attitude You have researched your competition, you know all their moves, tricks, strengths and weaknesses. You’ve practiced and you are feeling energised. Good. All you need now is to set the right mood to get in the zone. According to top sports psychologists, having the right mentality and attitude on the day is the key to being successful. That means: Getting a good nights sleep. Focus your mind on what needs to be done. Visualise your goals. Slow it all down in your head. Forget the distractions. Do your breathing exercises. 4. Dealing with pressure It’s OK to want to win. That’s the reason you’re here. BUT… the pressure of wanting to win can be over-powering. If you’ve practiced the point above, then its just a matter of holding onto that. Let the training kick in. Blot out the crowd. Stay calm, but purposeful. Value and have faith in your team members. If you’re losing, focus on the calm, don’t get mad, get even. If it gets to penalties – think first, quell the nerves. You’re in control. You studied the goalie remember. Whatever doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. We take on and carry that strength with us. If we never fail, then how can we appreciate and value success. If you lose this one, don’t dwell. DO evaluate. Know where you failed and learn from it. With this knowledge, look to the next challenge. Does anyone have any other points to add?