I have changed my mind. Whether we’re playing the vicious chavs or the nice girls from down the road who are struggling to pull together more than ten players, I have decided that this weekend is match time for Mrs Jonny. Well it’s not so much my decision, as the coach telling me to stop fussing and demanding I show up on Sunday. But regardless of where this impetus has come from, it’s time for me to shape up and get motivated.
While I leave it to you experts to dissect the last minute training nuances and leadership requirements of the England Six Nations squad, I thought I’d investigate the key facets of sports psychology and figure out the best way to prepare. I’d love to hear your tips and comments – what secret training regime do you have? – but meanwhile, here is what I’m planning to do. A slacker’s guide to match preparation you might say…
Skill and preparation
As every sports hero knows, success on the pitch is all about the hard slog and the hours of practice spent honing the minutiae of one’s talent. As Jonny Wilkinson once said, “good preparation is power”. This is all well and good, but as I have only been playing for six weeks and barely know what the hell I’m doing, this could be problematic. I have certainly learnt a few skills this winter (how to fall on the floor without crushing my head, how to run in and out of cones etc) but I may have to skip this step for now, and hope for the best.
I’ve noticed that everyone naturally seems to pass to the left, so perhaps if I stick to the right wing, I’ll be okay. Now if that’s not shrewd preparation, I don’t know what is!
I have actually been doing something about this and I reckon I might be improving a little here. Our fitness drills certainly bring out the competitive streak in me, and sprinting up and down the pitch every week, trying to beat girls with nicknames like ‘Legs’ and ‘Cheetah’ because they run so fast is pushing me to work harder off the pitch, at the gym. Plus, in true girly fashion, I need to wear a slinky wedding dress in seven months’ time, so I gotta get in shape!
Apparently, according to the BBC Sports Academy, 60% of ‘talent’ is down to mental strength and having the confidence to win. Looking for role models and inspiration, I turn not to our ‘elite’ men, but to the England Ladies rugby team, who gave the Welsh a 55-0 kicking last Saturday and who are now well on course for their third successive Six Nations trophy. Firing on all cylinders and working as a team, they’re focussed on points scoring and seriously psyched up for victory. Who said girls can’t play rugby, eh? Bring it on!
And of course, there’s the pre-match music to consider. In the gym, I’m quite a fan of cheesy Ibiza house music – it takes me back to my Essex roots (gawd bless ‘em!), my boyfriend won’t let me listen to such mindless trash at home and, more to the point, a study showed that you burn more calories if you’re listening to tunes with high BPMs. However, on this occasion, I feel something a little more macho is required to fire me up. I will therefore be listening to “Eye of the Tiger” on repeat, solidly, for 24 hours starting on Saturday afternoon. I defy anyone to come up with a better alternative…
Look the part
Finally… Boots? Check. Kit? Check. With sponsor’s logo and everything? Check. The pair of socks a Rugby Blog reader kindly offered to knit me last week? I look forward to receiving those soon…
Actually, other than my shiny new boots, I don’t have a clue about kit. Unlike school sports, where everything was immaculately washed and labelled in advance by your Mum, the deal now is that you turn up on the day, and then fight for shorts and shirts. If you’re really lucky you may find a clean pair of socks somewhere, but if not, you just get what you’re given. Hmm.. athlete’s foot anyone…? For the first time in my life, I may actually arrive early on Sunday and get in there first.
And if it all gets too much, well, Mrs Jonny can just keep referring to herself in the third person and pretending this crazy ordeal is not really happening.
Wish me luck!