Confidence

Making the Step Up – Playing for your County, Province or Country

When you play for your country, it’s such a huge joy. I find it impossible to compare it to anything else I have ever experienced. ~ Mario Balotelli

Every budding athlete dreams of performing at the highest level. Whether that is representing your club or parish in the local leagues or scoring the winner in the world cup of your chosen sport, the dream is the same.

However, the step up from playing or performing in front of a small local crowd in your home town to stepping out in front of thousands in an international or inter-county arena can be daunting. England rugby international, Ben Foden, gave a very frank interview to the Daily Mail about preparing for an international match.

In it he talks about the buzz he feels when he sees the fans and hears the crowd. It is an excellent insight into this highlight in every sports stars career. Foden seems to thrive on the weight of peoples expectations of him and his team-mates.

However, for some people, that expectation can weigh them down. Their own fears and insecurities can begin to play on their mind and eventually can even affect their performance on the field.

If you goggle “bad sports debuts” there is a litany of reports on sports stars who have failed on their first attempt to play in front of a new crowd.

Premiership soccer stars such as Wayne Bridge, Jonathan Woodgate and Sol Campbell, Superstars like Tiger Woods in golf and cricket’s Graham Gooch are all cited in one article on the Eurosport Site.

All sports have their list of the worst debuts, including officials and commentators.

“Fail to prepare and you can prepare to fail”

However, for some people, that expectation can weigh them down. Their own fears and insecurities can begin to play on their mind and eventually can even affect their performance on the field.

If you goggle “bad sports debuts” there is a litany of reports on sports stars who have failed on their first attempt to play in front of a new crowd. Premiership soccer stars such as Wayne Bridge, Jonathan Woodgate and Sol Campbell, Superstars like Tiger Woods in golf and cricket’s Graham Gooch are all cited in one article on the Eurosport Site. All sports have their list of the worst debuts, including officials and commentators.

Any Walk Of Life!

Roy Keane – Irish International Soccer Player – Once said “Fail to prepare and you can prepare to fail”. This statement can be applied to any walk of life, but it is especially true in the world of sports.

In the same way as athletes spend countless hours preparing, training and practicing to participate in their chosen field, the same kind of preparation can be applied to making that step up to representative sport – at whatever level.

Getting that phone call to say you have been selected to participate at the next level of your discipline can be at once exhilarating and terrifying.

Preparing your mind for such an event is as important as preparing your body. Representing your county, province or country can raise self doubt and insecurities in your mind.

Perhaps your performance coming up to an event has dipped and you’re worried that you can no longer compete at the highest level, maybe you are just worried that you are not good enough?

Sports counselling Ireland offers a safe, non-judgmental place to explore these issues. We can help you to understand and deal with issues such as fear and insecurity. Our service is confidential and staffed by professionally trained counsellors.

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