How To Combat Overthinking In Sport #BITESIZE

How To Combat Overthinking In Sport #BITESIZE

Paul Phillips | Founding Member, Board of Advisors: High-Performance Rugby Union | Coach Educator | Performance Rugby Consultant | Performance Coach Author.

With more than 17-years experience working with players, coaches, clubs, regions and organisations – as a Performance Coach, Educator and Consultant. With purpose, to positively influence growth, in many forms, to achieve individual and team development, progress, and success.

How often in sport do you see an athlete make the wrong decision under pressure? Often I’d say! Even at the highest level in elite professional sport.  Indecision, overthinking, paralysis by analysis, having too much time to think of the consequences, a lack of trust in skills or fear are often the reasons for poor decision making. 

In this short bite-sized episode, Paul Phillips an author and culture developer and I discuss overthinking in sport where we share some helpful tips so that you can deal better with pressure in the moment. 

Key Learning Points:

  • Helping athletes generate behaviours before thoughts and emotions is a helpful skill.
  • James Clear’s two-minute rule in the book Atomic Habits is a useful approach to take when you are feeling indecisive.
  • In rugby the size of an opponent can trigger fear responses, overthinking and poor decision making.
  • Visual, kinaesthetic and auditory cues and triggers are helpful in overcoming fear,
  • Using metaphors such as images of animals or superhero’s is a helpful trigger for adults and children.
  • Spending time with process training, practicing and rehearsing pre-shot and pre-performance routines are hugely beneficial.

Connect with Paul Phillips


Book: How to Create Culture: In Rugby Union

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To Listen to Podcasts To Help Overthinkers

Ep092: Dr James Hegarty – ACT in Sport, Improving Performance through Mindfulness

Ep156: Ruth Chiles – There is Hope: How to Overcome Focal Dystonia

Ep161: Paul Phillips – How to Create a Culture of High Performance in Professional Rugby Union

Ep221: Jeremy Snape – How To Use Pre Performance Routines When The Pressure Is On

Ep224: Aaron Walsh – How To Help Professional Rugby Players Perform Better Under Pressure

Helpful Resources For The Overthinker

Blog – Overthinking on the Rugby Pitch

Blog – Do You Start Matches with a ONE-NIL DOWN Mindset?

Blog – 7 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Bowl Every Delivery

Blog – Is Your Head Focused On The Right Things

How to Trust Your Skills When You’re a Goalkeeper



Also, kindly consider taking the 60-seconds it takes to leave an honest review and rating for the podcast on iTunes, they’re extremely helpful when it comes to the ranking of the show and we read every single one of them!

David Charlton

Best Wishes 

David Charlton

Global Sports Psychologist who is located near Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK and willing to travel Internationally.  David also uses online video conferencing software (Zoom, Facetime, WhatsApp) on a regular basis and has clients who he has supported in USA, Canada, South America, UAE, Australian and New Zealand.  

Managing Director – Inspiring Sporting Excellence and Founder of The Sports Psychology Hub.  With over 10 years experience supporting athletes, coaches, parents and teams to achieve their goals, quickly. 

T: +44 7734 697769

E: [email protected]

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