Wednesday, June 23, 2010

USA Wins Group C to Advance to Sweet 16 in World Cup

“I think in the past when I thought about leadership, it meant doing more things to help other people. I’m best leading when I’m focused on what I’m doing well. I think my energy and the way I play is a form of leadership on the field and I think other guys feed off of that. I’m aware of that, and I’m also aware that I don’t need to yell at guys, or say things all the time, I’m certainly at my best when I’m focused on myself.

I’m prepared. I know the qualities I have as a player, as a person, as an athlete, and I’m prepared for this moment. I wasn’t prepared in 2006. When you feel this prepared, you don’t worry about if it’s going to go well on the day.

"The way I play, the way I do things. Obviously I’ve become better in certain areas, I’ve worked a lot at my weaknesses on the field and tried to get better. Tactically you learn a lot just from the experience of playing in a lot of games, you’ll learn things."

--Landon Donovan, USA World Cup team member, interviewed at the beginning of the World Cup.

"Looking back now at that player mentally, it’s almost like a completely different person. And there were pluses and minuses to that. Being young and not knowing anything can be very positive sometimes, and it certainly was in that tournament. Now what I strive to do is keep that youthfulness when I’m playing mixed with the experience that I have and how to play in certain situations. I think the best way to describe it is that in 2002 I played completely from my heart and just went for it. Now I’m striving to play completely from my heart with a little mixture of keeping my mind in the right place so I can not do anything stupid.”

--Donovan, discussing his growth as a player from 2002 to now.

That is the mindset that prepared Landon Donovan to score the winning goal that led the USA to the next round at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.





Excerpts from Big Apple Soccer.com (June 10, 2010).

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