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Sports psychiatrist's advice for Mayo footballers


Steve Peters. Photo: Getty Images

Steve Peters. Photo: Getty Images

Steve Peters. Photo: Getty Images

Famed sports psychiatrist Dr Steve Peters has offered some words of wisdom which may help Mayo finally end their 69-year wait for an All-Ireland SFC title.

Peters has been lauded by recently crowned snooker world champion Ronnie O'Sullivan for taking his mental preparation to the next level with some spell-binding displays over the past decade.

That same period has seen Mayo go through the ringer with four All-Ireland defeats in the last eight years as the supposed 'curse' drags on with their inability to land Sam Maguire for a fourth time stretching back to 1951.

Author of 'The Chimp Paradox' and the sports psychiatrist behind British Cycling's remarkable success in recent times, Peters may be unfamiliar with Mayo's heartbreak but he knows what it takes to win.

Peters is quick to note that he doesn't have all the answers but he does identify the benefits of self analysis which James Horan's side, or any other team for that matter, could implement to help reach the promised land.

"I wouldn't jump in and give advice and it's really important to say that because I don't want people thinking that I walk in and I know because I don't know," Peters told the Herald.

"What I would do is I'd say it's up to the team, the managers, the players, whoever to sit down and say 'let's look at what we're doing, let's look at where we are gaining advantage from a psychological point of view and where we're losing'.

"Common areas are: are they able to process what they're meant to be doing on the day of competition or are their minds taking them to do unreasonable emotional risks or are they lacking focus?


"Do they get over errors in a game? It's quite simple stuff that you say 'let's look at these as a team and as individuals and work out what's best for them'.

"The bottom line working with anybody or any team is they know what's best, they just need to discover it, it's not me that's the answer."

Cyclists Chris Hoy and Victoria Pendleton, sprinter Adam Gemili and Liverpool FC have been among his client list with Peters admitting that it's important to "observe, watch and ask questions" until you get to grips with the nuances of different disciplines and personalities.

The Middlesbrough native admits that there's no "one for all recipe" to ensure success but whatever he's cooking, O'Sullivan and others have been thriving off it for years.