I got this comment on my Facebook about yesterday's blog about Sheffield United. Andy is a good friend of mine and an ex pro who is also a sport psychologist. It's another way to look at the game today.

' enjoyed reading that, Dave. Here's some observations from my own experiences, which may or may not be of use. Professional sportspeople thrive on these occasions. It's these occasions that some athletes have worked their whole life's towa
rds. To simply try to ignore this could deter the player and take the edge off their game- i.e. their adrenalin, motivation etc. I would argue that the players need to play the occasion- but work with it and not against it. The manager and psychologists priority is to ensure that everything is in place during the preparation (which includes their own game-plan/strengths, as you mentioned, and also the other teams threats). Each member of the team/squad will then be in a position where they feel that they are mentally and physically ready to give it their all- and this is all you can ask for. Yes! I agree that sometimes the 'big occasion' can be detrimental to performance, but on the other hand it can also be an advantage and compliment it. I think that the players need to be made aware of the potential pitfalls of such an occasion, but the main focus has to be on how they are going to grasp their MOMENT. So I would suggest that instead of 'playing the game and not the occasion', they need to 'ride it and not fight it'. In essence, they should be confident that they can just go with the flow.'

I think the key here is to get a balance between 'play the game and not the occasion'and as Andy suggested with regard to the occasion to 'ride it and not fight it'. Every footballer is different and individual. So it's a case of complete preparation and the ability to Control the Controllables.