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So England have finally won a penalty shoot-out in a World Cup. And only their second victory on penalties in a major tournament since they beat Spain in the Euro ’96 competition. And the single reason for this win….?

….of course, there’s no single reason. It’s another case of all those small steps, those adjustments, improvements and nudges in the right direction coming together under the leadership of Gareth Southgate. Could it all go wrong in the next round? Of course it could. But he’s just looking to tip the scales in his favour, especially when the pressure is on.

Interesting to hear in the interviews throughout the tournament Southgate talking about ‘owning the process’. Students of the Gazing Performance model we deliver will be very familiar with this concept of controlling the process. The outcome (do we win? do we lose? especially in a penalty shoot-out) is out of our control. But we can control how we prepare, how we do our home-work, what we practice and the conditions under which we practice. And practice makes….permanent. We can also control our state of mind going into the shoot-out, and using simple techniques to ensure our attention is on the right thing – the process not the outcome.

It seems though as if there is a bit more ‘Gazing’ going on there. In an article published in one of the Sunday papers, reference was made to the work Gazing Performance Systems does with the New Zealand All Blacks. In particular, the concept of red head blue head….again something our clients will be very familiar with.

We wish the England team the very best for the rest of the tournament, and their success in part will be governed by where they put their attention. And we can be confident that they will be doing their very best to control that process.

One lovely foot-note to this; when the Japanese got eliminated they cleaned their changing room and left a thank you note in Russian – shades of more All Black-inspired behaviour there as well, we think.