Friday, 06 July 2018 09:46

What's Your Penalty Shoot-Out?

Were you one of the 24 million viewers who tuned into watch England vs Columbia the other night; and if so did your fingernails survive the ordeal of the penalty shoot-out? There were certainly some tense and stressful moments which undoubtedly induced sweaty palms and racing hearts for many of the fans who were watching and listening.

Considering how anxious we felt merely spectating from the side-lines, it was a remarkable display of calmness and demeanour from the players who were actually involved. The England team’s poor record in penalty shoot-outs and big tournament matches made their management of the situation a true demonstration in outstanding Mental Toughness.

We learned in the post-match interviews with the players and manager that their incredible mental attitude didn’t happen by chance. A prolonged plan and strategy had been implemented to prepare the players for the very situation they found themselves in. Post training penalty practice, studies of the opposition’s penalty taking preferences and owning & following a process were some of the tactics employed to give the team the best possible chance and the confidence to come out on top.

So what’s your penalty shoot-out?

Are there situations at work that you dread? Does the thought of a difficult conversation perhaps, or return to work interview give you sweaty palms? Does the prospect of a grievance hearing or dismissal meeting get your heart pumping? Like England’s penalty shoot-out, these aren’t events that we generally get a lot of practice in. There are steps we can take however to prepare and give us the confidence to achieve the outcome we desire.

Knowing your processes and what their triggers are is a good starting point. You’ll struggle to embody confidence if you don’t have a complete grasp of what needs to be done and how. Being clear about the course of action you will take will put you in control of situation at the crucial time. The England penalty takers consistently practised shooting at the same spot in the goal. That consistency meant they were clear where they were aiming, so giving them the best possible chance of scoring a goal when the pressure was on.

The routine that the England players adopted in approaching the goal, collecting the ball and positioning it would have also helped them manage the stress of the situation. Stress can be very disruptive when you are trying to set and achieve objectives, but it can be managed to minimise impact. Tactics for overcoming stress is something we delve into in our Mental Toughness module on day three of our Level 4 Certificate in Leadership & Management course, which is available fully funded.

We can’t always avoid those penalty shoot-out moments but by being prepared for them we can definitely influence the outcome in our favour. England have every chance of making it to the World Cup final but let’s hope they do so without putting us through such a nerve-wracking ordeal again.

Talk to us about our upcoming funded training courses available for businesses in Gloucestershire and Worcestershire. Call us now on 01452 331331 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Read 2006 times Last modified on Friday, 06 July 2018 10:08


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