“So, we meet again Mr Bond?” echoed through my head as the Germany game reached its natural conclusion.
So yet again we face our nemesis.
But is this where the problem first starts?
The press are full of it – we talk about it incessantly at every social occasion – our record against the German – especially at penalties!
The issue is WE create (and fuel) the expectation which usually leads to its delivery. Behavioural economics (an unnecessarily complicated way of describing the psychology of behaviour) suggests that we live up to the expectations put upon us (Do you remember as a kid learning to cycle? Or jumping off the top board? Your Dad said “you can do it! and you believed him and sure enough you could. He gave you the belief and you lived up to it). We as a nation need to drop the pessimism, the cynicism and believe we can do it!
Thus Capello’s ONLY task before tomorrow is not to practice penalties but to make the team throw away (for ever) their belief system they have about what happens in England-Germany games – otherwise, England walks onto that pitch tomorrow already a goal down.
If I were Capello I would do two things to address this issue: To KILL the old belief and implant an new more empowering one.
The first is to disprove the old belief. This can be done with reframing the facts. The Sun (for once) did a great thing – its headline on Friday was about how new statistics show that England have been better at penalties than Germany in recent years. So maybe over 20 years the facts suggest Germany, but by relooking at the numbers and cutting them a different way, one can create a new fact that helps trump the past.
I would also use logic – a simple metaphor – Give them all a coin and get them to toss it 10 times. Record the results. Now ask them a simple question – on the 11th toss, is the result of that toss influenced in any way by the results of the past 10 tosses? And so it is with the next game.
The next thing I would do is build a belief that they can do it. For this I would do more emotional, visualising work. NLP (the psychology of excellence) has a technique called ‘circles of excellence’. In it, one relives all past times of greatness and then ‘anchors’ those great events with a simple gesture that can be reaccessed on the field eg little finger and thumb pressed together.
I would then make them imagine the game – imagine the passes – maybe even imagine being one goal down but coming back – and most importantly I would get them to imagine winning – to see what they see, hear what they hear – taste the taste of success! -and then anchor that as well.
Muhammed Ali was a great beleiver in the power of visualisation. He would (as he called it) ‘create his future history’ by hearing the final bell, feeling his arm being raised in the air, feel the belt being put on, smell the sweat and blood mixed together. However, on March 8, 1971, Muhammed Ali (in what has often been described as the fight of the century), failed to beat Joe Frazier. Later on, when asked what went wrong, he replied “Joe had a better future history than I did”.
Finally, I’d play them the 5-1 match so they have a real imprint of success. What’s more I’d give them all a simple wrist band to wear which just says ‘5-1’ to anchor in that belief.
So come on boys! You CAN do it!!