So far I would be inclined to say that this FIFA world cup has been highly entertaining. This has been made possible by an abundance of goals, a few upsets and some classic match ups (hopefully with many more to come).
What has caught my attention and has been interesting to see, is how some of the players use basic psychological skills to enhance their performance. A blatantly obvious example is that of Cristiano Ronaldo. He appears to go through the same process every single time when approaching a set piece opportunity.
This could possibly be because he has more time to explore and perfect his processes as compared to open play, but also in that moment, HE is in control. It was apparent in the Portugal vs Spain game that he follows a process before taking set piece kicks. This is shown in the video linked to this blog.
Now from a technical perspective, one can appreciate that he follows the same process for each and every set piece kick as he has found this to be the most effective way for him as a player to kick the ball. However, from a psychological perspective, the idea of following the same process each and every time also holds support for the fact that this results in more effective performance.
There are however, many different techniques that can be utilised. The one shown by Ronaldo in this video and almost all of his set piece kicks is diaphragmatic breathing. Often used as a relaxation tool and also a centring tool. This skill has psychological and physiological benefits and therefore is one of the fundamental skills that that Ahead for the game promotes and advocates.
This is not to say that diaphragmatic breathing will allow you to take a penalty or a free kick like Ronaldo. As we all know, he was unsuccessful in a penalty attempt last night versus Iran. However, the important take home message from this particular blog is to give yourself the best possible opportunity by preparing and following a process.