Most people who have ever taken on a sporting challenge recognise that winning is as much a psychological challenge as it is a physical one. We’ve all watched sportsmen and women lose their cool over the years, even the most talented of athletes aren’t able to control their thoughts during the most pressurised of situations. The majority of professional sports players now employ a sports psychologist; it raises the question whether this can really be the difference between success and defeat? It’s about pushing through those boundaries to complete goals, never giving up even if your body is screaming at you to stop and ensuring you can turn any negative performance into a positive experience. Sports psychologists implement mental skills training, which can be essential in improving performance. These techniques are used to build self-confidence, set goals, manage stress, improve imaginary and visualization skills, and increase concentration and motivation. Many of these things go hand in hand, for example using imaginary skills to picture yourself scoring the winning goal in the 88th minute may help with self-confidence and motivation. It’s about learning to have that concentration and keeping a calm head when your team go 2-0 down in a cup final, it’s about setting realistic and achievable goals, it’s about proving yourself time and time again. We always praise athletes for being so physically fit and strong but we often forget that they also have to have an incredibly strong and healthy mind. I don’t think psychological training can guarantee success but I’m pretty sure that it will give you a much greater chance at victory.