Whether you’re training for your next big race, match or triathlon, you will need to train your mind as well to stay positive and motivated.

Regardless of that nagging pain that could creep in or the voice at the back of your head telling you to give up; as you approach those final minutes.

Here are tips that could boost your performance by some of South Africa’s best rugby players.

The 38-year-old, legend Victor Matfield is like fine wine that just gets better with age; the Springbok lock has also captained the national side and the Blue Bulls. He is known as the ‘Peter Pan’ of Test rugby.

Want to know what works for him, when you find yourself under pressure to keep on performing at your best and maintain your winning streak? He says that: “Success is all about creating a culture. You get used to that; used to winning. But you have to work hard as well.

When you’re number one, train like you’re number two. With that kind of work comes belief, and once you believe in yourself and you keep working hard, then it’s going to be tough for anybody to stop you.”

After the unfortunate departure of former Springbok captain, Jean de Villiers after the Scotland match, scrumhalf Fourie du Preez has been handed the baton of leading the boys in green and yellow out onto the field as captain.

Du Preez who is known as a rugby genius or ‘Vuurhoutjie’ (Matchsticks) as he has a rare ability to be an all-in-one kind-of player, so good that Heyneke Meyer fetched him from his Japanese rugby club; Suntory Sungoliath.

He admits that he is no stranger to receiving flak from people and shares how he remains focused on boosting his performance and staying positive; in hopes that you could borrow a few tips from his playbook when you’re faced with criticism.

People think I don’t get flak, but I always feel like I’m being criticised. I think it’s because of the nature of the sport I play – people always have their opinions. I’ve always made sure that I only pay attention to the people that I think know their rugby, rather than reading or listening to people who don’t.

Also – and I think this is important – I surround myself with people whose opinions I trust and who know what I’m like as a person. They will let me know if any criticism is justified or not.”


Alice Paulse