What footballers can learn from Conor McGregor

BY – JACKSON CLARK

There is arguably no more polarising figure in current day sport than UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor.

 

The public perception surrounding ‘The Notorious One’ differs greatly, especially in Australian society, where it is seemingly better to fit in than to stand out.

 

Love him or hate him, the psychological warfare he unleashes on his opponents has allowed him to reap benefits inside the cage.

 

The man has even be dubbed “Mystic Mac” for his pre-fight predictions for his opponents, which more often than not have been correct.

 

McGregor originated from humble beginnings and has attributed his success to visualisation techniques and the law of attraction.

 

Many people dismiss these concepts as fad quackery designed by people in the personal development game to make a quick dollar off impressionable and sometimes desperate customers.

 

But does the power of positive thinking have merit?

 

Fake it ‘til you make it they say, the law of attraction has the support of some quantum physicists and has been a staple in the success of people in many fields, from acting, to business, to sport.

 

American author Napoleon Hill spent decades studying the most successful people from around the world and summarised his findings in one short quote: “Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve”.

 

It takes a great deal of mental power to be an elite level mixed martial artist and improving this aspect is something UFC fighters regularly practice in their training schedule.

 

So if a person’s success is determined by their mindset, then perhaps the psychological development side of Australian football is somewhat untapped.

 

Ever wonder why set shot kicking for goal is probably the only aspect of the game that has not improved over time?

 

There was a recent article written by Mark Robinson about meditation and visualisation implemented by St Kilda’s Maverick Weller as part of his training and pre-match routine.

 

After consulting with a sports psychologist, he went from being delisted by the Gold Coast Suns to now holding a position in St Kilda’s leadership group.

 

Weller is certainly an advocate for these techniques and has stated that it has helped him in many aspects of his life, on and off the field.

 

With the demands and pressures of the game at its highest levels ever, there is undoubtedly a plethora of young athletes lacking in confidence, thus hindering their performances.

 

I truly believe more time and resources should be devoted to helping young athletes achieve their true mental potential in sport.
For now, meditation, visualisation and the power of belief may be seen as obscure methods of training, but those that currently practice it may be seen as visionaries sometime in the future.

 

Twitter – @JClark182

About Jackson Clark

Born and bred in Darwin, Northern Territory, I am a young, aspiring football writer that lives and breathes the game of Australian Football. I'm also a keen player and coach.

Comments

  1. Visualisation for sport goes back a very long way, even in the application by old time VFL coaching. Barassi’s 1975 Premiership team used a hypnotist called Lee Saxon whom subsequently worked with Collingwood and many other sporting stars of the day to help with their mental preparation. Golfers use sporting psychologists to overcome the yips, Paul Roos introduced meditation to the Swans and now Melbourne.
    Matthew Lloyd mentioned in Sunday Age how he would visit the family priest before each game to get his head right.
    I knew a parent (also a psychiatrist) who dabbled in hypnotism and prepared his son’s team to prepare for battle against their arch enemy (undefeated) and they duly thrashed them.
    The game is played above the shoulders.

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