Are you a master of mind games?

“Football is a game you play with your brain,” said Johan Cruyff. Take our quiz to see if your mind is a help or a hindrance

1. You have a certain amount of footballing talent and can’t do much to change it. Agree?
A) Disagree. I’m a student of football, and if I work hard and learn from my mistakes, I can improve my ability.
B) Kind of. I can improve a bit but your natural ability is more important.
C) Agree. I could work on my game 24/7 but my ability isn’t going to improve.
2. Do you set yourself both short- and long-term goals?
A) Yes. I know exactly where and how I want to be playing in a year’s time as well as this time next week.
B) Well, I’ve got a vague idea, but it’s not on a spreadsheet or anything…
C) Disagree. I turn up, play football and don’t think too much about it.
3. Do you wish nerves wouldn’t affect you as much as they do?
A) No, not at all. I use pre-match nerves positively, and once I’m across the white line, they are forgotten.
B) To an extent. Nerves can affect me before a big game, but most of the time they are manageable.
C) Absolutely. Put me in a pressure situation and I’m shot to pieces.
4. Physical, technical, tactical, mental – you take an interest in all aspects of the game. True?
A) True. Every day is a new opportunity for me to get better and improve. 
B) I’m slightly interested in different areas of the game, but I don’t really have time to think about it too much.
C) That sort of caper is for the pros – it doesn’t really apply to me.
5. Would your team-mates say you are a hard-working player?
A) Totally. For me, it’s blood, sweat and tears for the team, every single week.
B) I’m somewhere in the middle: not the laziest, but not the hardest grafter either.
C) They would probably say I work hard to be first at the bar afterwards...
6. True or false: pre-match and mid-game, you talk to yourself internally in a helpful way.
A) True. Positive reinforcement and imagining good outcomes helps to maximise success on the field.
B) It depends. Sometimes I feel great on the pitch; other times, not so much.
C) Well, I try to feel good going into a game, but one dubious touch and it is straight back to castigating myself.
7. Would you say an ability to manage frustrations with your game is one of your strengths?
A) Yes. I hate losing, but if I miss a chance or make an error, I move on quickly. 
B) I do dwell on things, but it’s best to put them behind you or it’ll ruin your game.
C) My football life is one long showreel of disappointments and my own catastrophic mistakes. Thanks for reminding me.
8. Are you able to keep your temper during a match, even when provoked?
A) If somebody’s provoking me, it’s a sign I’m doing things right, so I remain calm.
B) I find it tough when I come up against someone really lippy, but generally I will try my best to stay out of it if I can.
C) Why would you ask me a stupid question like that? RAAAAARRRGH!
If you answered mostly A…
Congratulations! Your mindset and ability to perform under pressure help you play to your full potential. Continue with clear goals, focus and persistence, and the only way is up.
If you answered mostly B…
Mentally, you have some strengths that help performance. However, there are areas you can target for improvement. Work on managing your matchday mindset and on-pitch emotions.
If you answered mostly C…
Your mindset, not your talents, may be holding you back – but work on this, first by focusing on what you do well and trying hard to improve, and you may start loving the game again.
Questionnaire devised with the help of Bradley Busch from InnerDrive. For a comprehensive, scientific look at your mindset, take their full Psych Profile at 

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