How to Get into the Mindset of a Rugby Player
The sport of rugby is as much about mindset as it is about physical strength, play tactics and team intimidation. In order to excel in any sport, an athlete must have the right attitude and rugby is no different, especially at a professional level.
So, what exactly is going on inside the mind of a top tier rugby player? Contrary to harsh stereotypes, there is a lot that a player must keep in mind during training and playing matches, as well as in their downtime. Maintaining the right perspective, managing any strong emotions and taking calculated risks are all vital components of a rugby player’s mindset; whilst these aspects may sound more like the trappings of a purely cerebral career choice like stock broker or pro gamer, they are equally as relevant to an inescapably physical sport like rugby.
So, let’s take a closer look at these crucial ingredients to the perfect rugby player mentality.
First of all, rugby players must be adaptable. Without the ability to change, and change quickly, they risk putting their team at a disadvantage. They must remain open to the possibility that the way they want to do something might not be the appropriate reaction in that moment; this can include the way that they play a match, their reaction to provocation or the way in which they communicate with their teammates. There is always room to improve and, to do so, players must be consistently open to adaptation in new and evolving situations.
However, being adaptable is not a free pass to be lazy and skimp on training. In order to succeed both individually and as a team, rugby players must be willing to commit to a disciplined life. This can often mean missing out on fun activities like all night parties, spontaneous trips and Friday night takeaways. However, it doesn’t have to mean a complete ban on enjoyment. Downtime is essential, but it’s easy to fill those precious spare hours with enjoyable pastimes that still support the right mindset. Learning a language with Busuu will improve both memory and problem solving skills, whereas sampling the games on offer at Pokerstars can improve logical thinking and help with concentration and patience.
As a member of a well-oiled team, a rugby player must have excellent communication skills. It doesn’t pay to be a lone wolf on the playing field, when your teammates are counting on you to anticipate their next move and indicate what your own might be. Without accurate communication, a team simply becomes a group of confused people running up and down the rugby pitch. Team bonding activities like training, taking trips together, sharing living accommodation and welcoming all players’ input on game tactics can help with communication, but it is up to the individuals to put the effort in to being part of the team.
A vital part of communication, yet one which deserves its own focus, is respect. Respect for one’s self, for teammates and for rivals are all essential components to enjoying a successful career as a rugby player. Holding contempt for the opposing team will never result in anything positive; meanwhile, holding contempt for one’s own teammates can be flat-out destructive. Respecting the rules of the game, the people who work behind the scenes as well as those on the pitch, and the fans that lend their support creates a celebratory environment in which everyone can thrive and be their very best. This not only makes the sport more enjoyable to watch, but also makes the role of rugby player a more rewarding one to play.
If a player follows the advice above and makes it onto a winning streak, then it can be easy to let that success go to their head. This is not advisable. By staying humble and down to earth, a player can see more clearly which path they need to take next in order to propel them forward to the next great achievement. Getting too caught up in celebrating a win can mean letting go of all the hard work put into remaining disciplined, adapting to new situations and communicating with teammates. It’s a sure-fire way to find yourself back at square one, with all that hard work in tatters.
However, if this does happen and a player experiences a bad run, then they can turn that around through simple perseverance. This doesn’t mean battling on through an injury, or running themselves ragged trying to procure a win that they have no way on Earth of making; rather, it means being determined, committed to their team and dedicated to reaching their end goal. If they believe in themselves and in their team, then not matter how many times they get knocked down, they’ll get back up again and carry on. Perseverance is how trophies are won and legends are made.