Southgate: Psychologist can help England
Gareth Southgate believes a sports psychologist can help England
Gareth Southgate has called on England to appoint a sports psychologist in an effort to avoid yet more penalty shoot-out pain at major tournaments.
England's latest failure in the cauldron of a shoot-out came with defeat at the hands of Italy in the Euro 2012 quarter-finals, and former England international Southgate believes the time has come for the Football Association to tackle the issue.
"I'm a big believer in sports psychology," said Southgate, who missed a crucial penalty for England in a shoot-out against Germany in the semi-finals of Euro 96.
"Every major tennis player would work with somebody, every major golfer too, then everybody tells me 'football's different' but I can't see why.
"I'm sure it would have benefited me, definitely. It's not about luck.
"It is about performing a skill under pressure. I wasn't able to do that. I was going into the darkness. We need strategies for dealing with stress."
England have lost seven of their eight shoot-outs at major tournaments - their only success coming against Spain in the last eight at Euro 96 - and Southgate believes it is no surprise that confidence has suffered.
"Now there is a long history of disappointment and it's in everybody's heads," he added in quotes reported by several national newspapers.
"Our penalty history has an impact on the whole nation."
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Training kids on ball control instead of putting them into competitive games from the earliest age, would do more good. If we won the games in normal time by being able to pass the ball accurately and were trained in the art of intelligent positioning, we'd have all the confidence we'd need. If it works for Spain, Germany and France it must be saying something.
Trouble is it isn't being heard by the FA, like much else. There's not much point in painting toenails if the legs got gangrene.
As i do coach Children and have done for the last few years, i can tell you that there is no competition until they are 10 years old and offsides don't come into play until they are are at under 11 age. I can also tell you that the 9 year olds i am coaching at the moment are good passers and they have good movement aswel.
There is a problem with mentality in this country, we panic with possession of the ball, you can see it on their faces when they have they ball. They get the ball and look to get rid of it straight away, often trying something that is not on or just losing concentration through the panic.
If a psychologist can instill some confidence then why not try it, we have nothing to lose, it's not like he wants to get a faith healer.
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