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Go for goals: Focus on the prize

It was a very subtle change and yet it made such a big difference.

For years I’d been a quick runner, but never the fastest in the team, and with being a defender and often the last man, it was important to be quick to catch a forward who had broken through.

I can’t remember how it came about, but in one training session where we were doing some sprint shuttles, my manager pulled me to one side to talk to me.

What he said not only improved my physical, but also my psychological skills. The guidance he gave me was, “keep your head still when you’re running”. This simple bit of advice allowed me to run faster and also served to help me improve me in working towards my goals.

Before speaking to my manager, when I ran, my head would swish from side to side. This was impacting my speed significantly. 

Focus on where I needed to get to

Taking this in to consideration and applying it to my goals, I realised that in order to make my goals a reality, I needed to keep very focused on them. Much in the same way as keeping my head still while running, this allowed me to focus on where I needed to get to and without the distraction of shaking my head, I was able to get there more quickly.

When you focus on what you want you will consciously and unconsciously do things that will bring you closer to your goal. When you allow distractions to blur your focus, you will go off the path to your goal, which in turn, will make it more difficult for you to reach it. By keeping a clear focus, you will find it much easier to reach. 

In an earlier column, I discussed the importance and benefit of setting a goal for yourself. If you’ve got a specific goal, write it down and read it on a daily basis, so that you will remind yourself of what you need to be concentrating on and before you know it, it will become second nature to focus on what you want. 

So remember, whether you want to win a trophy, gain promotion, get selected for a team or even run faster, keep your eye on the prize!

All the best,


NLP expert Dan Collinson is happy to hear from readers who are interested in the techniques he applies to help players raise their game. He can be contacted via email at:

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