Thinking Clearly Under Pressure

We are approaching the annual greatness of the Rugby World Cup. Every four years teams from twenty countries will compete for the chance to win the Web Ellis Cup, this time it’s based in Japan. Around the world, people will arrange meetings around certain times and a frightening amount of money will be spent on cheap salted snacks and early morning coffees (as in the UK most matches will take place during the morning)

As an avid supporter of England, I will always refer to the amazing landmark year of 2003, a year when England won the World Cup beating the old enemy, Australia, on their own doorstep. Clive Woodward, the then England Manager, had brought a level of professionalism to the game never seen before in modern rugby. Instead of a cabbage eared manager waxing lyrical about the old days, Clive Woodward looked more like a Bank Manager from Slough. He brought into his management team: psychologists, dieticians, motivational experts and even massage therapists. Many people, including many in the RFU questioned his approach and in some cases openly mocked it, but, as the result shows, we won. 

Key to his methodology was a training system called TCUP; Thinking Clearly Under Pressure. What Clive used to do is have intensive times of exercise and full contact training for a group of players. After this concentrated period the group had to complete simple running and passing exercises, the type of ‘drills’ you do when you are first learning to play rugby. He did this because what he found was that teams during games, when they were at their most tired, used to make really stupid decisions and fail in real basic moves. At points of high stress and tiredness, team and individuals seemed incapable of making match winning decisions that they would, in normal circumstances, otherwise normally make very quickly. 

So with time and lots of TCUP training the England side of 2003 eliminated a lot of bad decisions brought about through tiredness and fatigue. They got better at Thinking Clearly Under Pressure. In a busy world, in a busy city and in an even busier part of West London, our lives are lived at full tilt. We work exceptionally hard during the week, so we can then free ourselves up to play even harder at the weekend, to then get enough money together to go on busy holidays. 

Living on this edge at full tilt leaves us vulnerable to making stupid decisions, that we would otherwise not consider doing: over-drinking, unhealthy relationships with food, pornography, gambling, game addiction, destructive relationships. Many of these decisions come from an environment of being over-tired, overworked and not resting and feeding our souls properly. So the challenge is are you Thinking Clearly Under Pressure?

Do you need more time out?

Do you need to reassess your work load?

Do you need to stop?

Do you need to feed your soul?

Pray more, have a mobile phone holiday, say “no” more, invest in yourself and your friends and family

Remember God rested so must we.