• Question: What do footballers think about when they are playing football?

    Asked by kamilo12 to Faye on 24 Apr 2012.
    • Photo: Faye Didymus

      Faye Didymus answered on 24 Apr 2012:

      Hi kamilo12! That’s a really good question 🙂 Footballers may think about all sorts of things when they are playing football. Some of my colleagues have done work in this area and there is lots of research that looks at what we should and shouldn’t think about when we’re playing sport if we want to do our best. Let me give you some bullet points on what the scientists like me say:
      1) Control the controllables! So we want our athletes to be thinking about the things that they can control…so things like how fast they run, where they pass the ball, rather than thinking about how loud the crowd is shouting for example, because this can be unhelpful.
      2) Think about the process! We also try to get our athletes to think about how they are going to achieve something rather than thinking about the outcome such as winning or losing a football game. This can help athletes to perform really well under pressure.
      3) Use que words! Sometimes we will encourage athletes to say one word when they are kicking a penalty shot for example….the word might be something simple like “swing”. If they practise using that word over and over again when they’re practising penalty kicks, their mind and body become really well linked and just saying the word “swing” at the right moment can help athletes to score a penalty shot! Cool, huh?