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Michael Kightly: Start the game full of confidence

“I’m always really confident pre-match, but when the whistle blows I go into my shell. What can I do to change this next season?
Carl Newton, via email

Michael Kightly says:

“You have to be positive from the whistle. I tend to try and test my marker straight away by running at them, taking a few risks.

I’m a confidence player and if I get a result doing this – beating a man, getting a shot off, putting a decent cross in – I know I’m going to have a good game. It puts me in the right mental state.

If I start slowly, I play within myself and that doesn’t work for me. I start thinking about my game too much, rather than playing naturally.

But if, as an amateur player, you gain confidence from playing a few safe, simple passes early on, you should do that. The key is to feel good with what you’re doing from the start of the game.

Sometimes it’s not about what’s right for you, but what’s right for the team. Against tough opponents a manager will usually want to go into a game cautiously, trying to keep a good shape and defend well, then hopefully nick a result as the game goes on.

Others times, a boss will want you to go for the jugular right from the start and catch the other side cold."

For more football tips see:
The power of confidence
Staying confident during a goal-drought
Big Sam's guide to motivation
How to bounce back from a mistake
Carlton Cole's mind gym