Ruthless French and Committed Scots

Hearing the news that Andy Robinson is sending out the Scotland rugby team unchanged from last weekend inspired me with confidence. This was not the only aspect of the team that made me sit up and pay attention after the match in Paris last weekend.

Beating the French in Paris was always going to be a significant challenge and one that many Scots believed we were unlikely to accomplish. With that in mind, it was perhaps more important how the team chose to compete rather than what the final score was.

Captain Alistair Kellock praised the French for an “outstanding” and “clinical” performance and I think this was an opinion shared by many. In seeking to undo the ill-feeling after their last performance in Paris, Scotland were faced with not only a talented side, but also one who were extremely motivated and committed to the match. Something no world-class rugby side would have wanted to face!

While at times outclassed, the Scots produced a committed performance and tried to play their own game as much as possible. Andy Robinson praised his team’s attitude and the way that they went about the challenging task although did not avoid the areas that needed improvement. In focussing on completing the process to the highest possible level, the team highlighted something I often find myself working with athletes on.

Western culture tends to focus on outcome goals; things we can touch like medals or trophies. But in striving solely for outcome goals we may actually be making things harder than they need to be. By using performance and process goals, we can sustain motivation and increase concentration. Then as we complete these goals, we extract self-confidence and belief in our growing abilities and skills. This in turn will help us to become better athletes and better teams.

In focussing on the process of playing good rugby and playing to the peak of their abilities rather than worrying solely about winning the match, the Scotland team should be happy with their overall performance and now seek to improve the areas of their performance that require attention. By applying a process-driven approach they are now much more likely to sustain the momentum they have gained into their next match.

I am excited by this and now really looking forward to the next match……

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