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  • My background was quite challenging.

  • I grew up on a council estate, single parent family.

  • I was born with a physical disability.

  • Regardless of your background,

  • if you really want to achieve something, you can.

  • So my first tip would be...

  • So the challenge that I would have when I was playing,

  • was that I'd make a mistake quite early on

  • and then I'd spend effectively 60 minutes worrying about

  • what I'd done in the first 10 or 20 minutes of the game.

  • I would dwell quite a lot,

  • and it would affect me

  • to the point where at half time I'd get subbed off.

  • And that's the worst thing.

  • But when you make a mistake, just think forward, look forward,

  • think about what you're going to do next

  • and that will take you away from the previous error.

  • So my next tip would be...

  • When I was born I was born with a physical disability called clubfoot

  • so it's basically where one or both your feet

  • are completely turned all the way in.

  • So it got corrected

  • but my foot still has a sort of slight angle in when I run.

  • Over my career I think I've had many times when I've had a bit of...

  • I guess, self-doubt, very negative thoughts,

  • I really needed to work really hard on that mental side.

  • So I came up with my mantra -

  • I'm fit, I'm fast, I'm athletically strong -

  • so it was all about me being confident in my body.

  • Before I played in a big game

  • I would say to myself that mantra - right that's me, I'm going to do it,

  • I'm going to show people how good I am.

  • So my next tip would be to...

  • By that, I mean it's important that people set goals

  • and when you write it down it really does focus your mind

  • and focuses your behaviour.

  • And I think what's good about having a structured diary

  • is that it allows you to be organised,

  • it allows you to feel good about yourself when you've done it,

  • monitoring your progress allows you to improve.

  • So my final tip would be...

  • I think it's important to recognise, prior to a game,

  • or prior to any big event, that you're going to deliver,

  • giving yourself time to think about what you're about to do.

  • Early in my career, I wouldn't give myself that time and space

  • and I'd just go into a game almost like a headless chicken

  • because I'd be so excited,

  • and then as a result of that in the first 10 minutes

  • I'd give away a penalty.

  • So I'd always say to people, where possible, switch off.

  • Prior to a big game I like to take my dogs for a walk, I've got two dogs,

  • and that allows me to feel quite comfortable and confident,

  • so when I have to perform, I'm ready to go and I'm not anxious.

  • It was incredibly special to actually achieve and win that World Cup.

  • Felt happy, felt ecstatic, felt all of those great emotions,

  • but actually the biggest emotion that came through was relief.

  • Because we spent 12 years building up to that point,

  • We'd lost two World Cup finals prior to that.

  • If I'd won the World Cup straight away with my team

  • it wouldn't have been that special.

  • It wouldn't have meant anything if we haven't had that journey.

My background was quite challenging.

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A2 world cup prior big game mantra cup disability

How to be a champion (in rugby and in life) | BBC Ideas

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    Summer posted on 2021/08/19
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