This week we saw the announcement by England Manager, Roy Hodgson, that the team will take a Sports Psychiatrist (Dr Steve Peters) to Brazil in the summer. Sports Psychiatrists are becoming more important and extremely highly respected in the sporting world as each elite team introduces them. This also shows how football is progressing through the mental side of the game as well as the physical.
For years we’ve improved gyms, pitches, camera technology and the science behind football to help players in areas to improve but also the chance to pick out those specific issues and learn from them to make them into the best they can be. Now mental improvement and general psychology of an athlete is getting that same boost too, to help make them fit and ready to become winners.
- A quick profile of Dr Steve Peters;
- Worked with the Team GB Cycling in 2012 and the Sky ProCycling Team.
- He is a Consultant Psychiatrist and University Senior Clinical Lecturer.
- Wrote the “The Chimp Paradox” (2011).
- He has helped several elite teams and athletes including Chris Hoy, Victoria Pendleton, Bradley Wiggins and Snooker ace Ronnie O’Sullivan.
- Currently working with the Liverpool Football Team.
When talking about Premier League champions, we always go to the cliché “win ugly” or how will the team respond after a loss. An example is Manchester United, in seasons past they had a manager known for a drive to win, but also to be a great psychologist and knowing the time to react and the time to stay silent, to gain the best reaction from his players. That impact is being shown this season as when United lose now, even though they say the same words to the camera, “We will bounce back” and as certain Evra said at the start of the season “We are Man Utd”. Brings up that saying the right things doesn’t mean a response will happen, work has to be done behind the scenes. The Red Devils had the mental strength to have an impact on themselves for confidence but to also put fear into the opposing team, this has gone.
Roy Hodgson’s decision to take a Sports Psychiatrist to the World Cup is a great decision and could be one of the best decisions he makes and is remembered for from his rein. As he has said, we probably won’t see England suddenly scoring 5 out of 5 penalties, even though many would hope he can do that sort of magic. Most opposition think the England team has become weak, as Neymar once said before the Brazil friendly which strangely ended in a 2-2 draw after England conceding first. England have lost that Bulldog reputation and a never say die attitude that so many teams in England are known for, maybe we will see some of this attitude making a return.
I’m no Psychiatrist but the basic when talking about mental strength of any player or team, however you may perceive this is confidence. It seems so simple but it really is and if someone who is known for understanding the brain and keeping it in a healthy state and to effectively put that into practice, then it can only be a step forward for the national team.