1 Create a winning environment
A positive momentum can be built before a ball is even kicked. Surround yourself with energising influences before kick-off – your favourite people, songs, books and pre-match meals. Team activities, like a round of golf, can also build impetus.
2 Don’t get sloppy
You’ve made a good start through discipline, hard graft and collective thinking. You can lose control through bad behaviour, laziness, overinflated egos and a lack of passion. Signpost your winning attitude through triggers: for example, use buzzwords during games. Tell each other “calm” to keep possession or “strong” if you want thunderous tackles. These help focus on the job in hand.
3 Don’t be afraid of losing
If you’re leading a match, don’t play safe to secure the lead. Remember you’re winning because you’ve been assertive, forward-thinking and brave. Winners keep winning because they’re confident in their ability. Don’t think, ‘What’s the worst that could happen?’ but ‘What’s the best that could happen?’
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4 "Well played”
Create a culture of praise and communication. If your team-mates are playing well then tell them – confidence breeds confidence. Praise hard work, determination and selflessness to reaffirm a positive energy throughout the team. Chances are you’ll get the same feedback – and feel great as a result.
5 Think about the now
Don’t look too far ahead. Don’t think about your good start coming to an end – that’s the future – but focus on the present. Create a clear picture of what your individual job is for the team and make sure you keep doing it. Don’t think about where this run of form could take you, as it’ll only distract from what’s important: the next game.
6 Cultivate culture carriers
These players transfer the motivated mindset of the manager to the team during the match. Think Roy Keane, Patrick Vieira or John Terry. They lead through performance and character. A culture carrier is about constant improvement and maintaining high standards. Engage these leaders to empower and motivate the team. They lead to keep the team focused, driven and in control of the game.
7 Build ‘response-able’ mindsets
At some stage during your good start a setback will occur, as an individual and as a team. To keep momentum, activate your ‘response-able’ mindset. You can’t always control the circumstances you face in games, but you can always control your response to them. Champions are response-able during setbacks.