Playing Rugby at Your Best Under Pressure

Playing Rugby at Your Best Under Pressure

Rugby Psychology Tips: Playing Rugby at Your Best Under Pressure

Is producing your best rugby when it counts an issue?

Whatever level you play at, I’m pretty sure that you’ve experienced feeling under pressure.  How you go on to cope with that pressure often is the difference between making that crucial tackle or pass and not.

Do you have techniques that you rely on to keep you cool and calm? Do you have techniques to draw on to keep you “in the present moment”?  Read on if you’d like to know more.

I’ll share 3 tips that can help you thrive under pressure.  Giving yourself more chance of achieving your rugby goals.

Many of these skills can be learned off the rugby pitch.  They can also be applied to different areas of your life.  Similar to training in a gym, the more you practise these techniques the stronger you’ll get.

  1. See it, catch it

A tendency many rugby players have when they play under pressure is to worry about dropping the ball.  When under pressure from opponents, be it from a high kick or a long pass and landing their team in trouble.  As a result, many players can get caught up over thinking in the split second they have to catch the ball.  Think about when you’re at your best? Or when your team is 40-0 up? You are likely to be more relaxed and trust yourself when in this situation.

Get used to visualising yourself successfully catching the ball, when under pressure, and then during quiet periods in games, play these moves through your mind.  This approach will help you trust yourself under pressure and give yourself the best opportunity to make that telling catch, relieving the pressure on your team.

  1. Try encouraging yourself, as great coaches do

When you’re playing under pressure, positive self-talk can really help you stay in control.  Go ahead design some scripts including some cue words and positive statements to help you feel great under pressure and relax.   For example, for cue words, you may use in the warm up may be, “breathe”, “calm”, let’s go” or “trust.”  For positive statements during a tight game you might say to yourself, “I’ve caught the ball 1000 ‘s of times successfully, let’s do it again” or “this is fun, I love matches when we’re under pressure.”

  1. Focus on the present moment

Grounding yourself during breaks in play or when the ball is at the other end of the pitch may be possible and can be helpful.  For example, perhaps scanning your surroundings and noting to yourself the colour of another players boots, the size of a stand or the colour of an advertising hoarding can help players stay in the present moment and can be a great distraction technique.

Give them a try and let me know what you think.  Also feel free to let me know what works for you.  Please forward this blog to other rugby players, coaches or parents who you think would find it helpful.

Or if you enjoyed this blog offering Rugby Psychology advice sign up to “The Mental Edge” for regular updates.

You many also have some questions about one 2 one Sports Psychology Coaching with a Leading Sport Psychologist, David Charlton, based near Newcastle upon Tyne – Face to face, via the telephone, SKYPE or online via email are available.

David Charlton Sports Psychologist

Best Wishes 

David Charlton

Rugby Mental Performance Coach and Sports Psychologist to many Rugby Players around the world from UK and Ireland, to South Africa, Australia and New Zealand using ONLINE Video Conferencing (Zoom, Skype, Facetime, Whatsapp).    

Managing Director – Inspiring Sporting Excellence, Host of Demystifying Mental Toughness Podcast, and Founder of The Sports Psychology Hub.  With over a decades’ experience supporting athletes, coaches, parents and teams to achieve their goals, faster.  

T: +44 7734 697769

E: [email protected]

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