Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Mentally Ready

Rugby is as much a mental game as it is a physical one. The world’s top players didn’t get to where they are today relying on talent alone. Success takes drive and dedication to both mental and physical training. Ever wondered why players at the end of their careers play consistently better than their younger counterparts? It all comes down to mental toughness.

International Rugby Academy (IRANZ) MD Murray Mexted recently wrote a column on The Roar extolling the virtues of making mental toughness a training priority. IRANZ places focus on developing mental toughness, defining it as “the ability to perform at your maximum every time you play.”

Peak Performance begins in the mind. While players naturally develop the mental skills and mind management techniques as they become more experienced, teaching them to a player (yes, it is teachable) at the start of their career will help them become more successful on and off the field.

Players need to realize everyone is motivated differently, find what works for them and develop it into a process. Meanwhile the coaches need to finely tune each player, working with them to turn what works for them from process to habit.

Rugby is all about the challenge, and mind management is the greatest one facing coaches in today’s game. The game is full of incredibly skilled players, but it’s up to the coaches to tap into their mind and find what motivates them. No easy task, but it’s what the great coaches are able to do.