Winning when it matters

Foreword by Vlok Cilliers:

I would like to introduce our guest writer and colleague Gielie Hoffmann. A highly regarded performance psychologists I often work with. Gielie will be writing from time to time and joins us as a guest writer on the VlokSkop blog. Enjoy!

Gielie Gielie HoffmannHoffmann specializes in Performance Psychology and is based in Pretoria.

He has vast experience in the fields of tennis, golf, rugby, athletics, netball and hockey.He works with professional athletes/players/teams as well as coaches/parents/players at school level.

Follow him on Twitter @gieliehoffmann.


Winning when it matters

Gielie Hoffmann – Sport psychology is a diverse field but the benefit of investing in mental conditioning is valued most in close situations where things get tight.

Why is it that some players/athletes/teams can lift their game and win the vital points/matches and some struggle, even though they create the chances?

Confidence. Decision-making. A clear plan.

In the past few weeks we saw UCT win the Varsity Cup in extra time after being out of it completely.

The Cheetahs squandering a lead to draw against the Chiefs.

Pressure is a magnifying glass exposing all of the small cracks in a team’s confidence. UCT believed they were in that match, regardless of the score. The Chiefs backed themselves to go score no matter how many phases it took.

The small margins of sport will always be to the advantage of the player/team who put in the mental work on a daily basis.

You can’t expect to be at your best when it matters when you don’t have that same expectation on a daily basis. How many players/team train at their highest intensity the last 15 minutes of a practice.

You can’t expect to have a clear mind under pressure if you don’t put in the necessa
ry mind-work off the field. Teams should exactly know what they will do in which situations – have the important discussions before hand and provide players with a clear plan.

The clever teams will invest just as much in mental conditioning as what they would in the physical department.

Sport has no guarantees but something that is certain is that the teams who take their chances on a weekly basis will see the compounded effect of it at the end of the season.


About VlokSkop

Vlok Cilliers is highly regarded as one of the finest kicking coaches in South Africa. Both Morne Steyn and Derek Hougaard credit much of their success to Cilliers, who has helped them immeasurably over the years. Vlok spent most of his rugby career with Western Province and on 17 August 1996, he earned a Springbok test cap against New Zealand in Durban. In 2004, Vlok became the kicking coach for the Blue Bulls. Since then, he has done tremendous work with the likes of Derek Hougaard, Morne Steyn, Francois Brummer and Louis Fouche, and is widely regarded as one of South Africa's top kicking coaches. Vlok recently joined Supersport as a technical commentator during live rugby games
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