How many times do you see that guy in training who has it all and then come match day can’t control a twenty yard pass? How many times do you dominate the pitch in training, collecting the ball under pressure and shielding it until the right moment to release it comes, then on match day you fail to control the ball and release it to no one while under the smallest hint of pressure?
I see this a lot and have suffered from this myself. I recently read an excellent article talking about frontal lobe dominance and sports. In that article the author uses an excellent metaphor to demonstrate how an athletes perception of the consequences of his actions can have a drastic effect on his performance.
Walking the plank
Place a 6 inch wide board on the ground, 10 feet across and walk over it one foot in front of the other. Easy isn’t it?
Place the same board and elevate it 100 feet up in the air between 2 buildings. Now, imagine walking over it. It’s a little more difficult. You turn something simple into a life or death situation, making you think about the consequences. That REALLY increases the importance of each and every step, making things a LOT more difficult. You’re a lot more likely to mess up.
The next time you have a player or team that is suffering from this maybe you could use this powerful metaphor to help them identify the root cause of their issue.