Mind Over Matter, Says General Jim
ST MIRREN star Jim Goodwin admits the Buddies will need to cut out the late defensive slip-ups which cost them so dearly last season if they want to climb the SPL ladder in the new campaign. A number of precious league points slipped through St Mirren’s grasp as they conceded late equalisers or allowed the opposition to bag the winning goal with just seconds of the game to go. On no fewer than NINE occasions, Saints were hit by late sucker punches from the likes of Motherwell, Hearts, Celtic, St Johnstone, Dundee United, Aberdeen, Inverness Caley Thistle and Hibernian.
Buddies boss Danny Lennon introduced regular sessions with a Lothians-based sports psychologist as he tried to help his players get over the mental barrier of being able to see games through to the death. And midfield general Goodwin insists he’s happy to get involved in mind games again next season if it helps to give St Mirren an advantage over their SPL rivals.
Former Hamilton Accies ace Goodwin, who agreed a new one-year deal at Saints earlier this month, told Express Sports: “The mind is such an important part of any sportsman’s performance, so the stronger you make it, then the better the outcome.
“The gaffer brought in a sports psychologist last season and he worked hard with the lads to help us out. I think that was an indication of the manager’s attention to detail and his determination to do everything he could to make sure we stopped conceding last-minute goals. The sports psychologist took group and individual sessions and I think the players really bought into it.”
Goodwin, 29, has also benefited from the use of ‘sport shrinks’ at some of his previous clubs and he firmly believes that exercising your mind off the pitch is central to success on it. He added: “When I was at Celtic, Wim Jansen brought in a guy named Tom Lucas who was an expert about that sort of thing and he did some great work with the players. That positive mindset Tom encouraged us to adopt helped Celtic to a very important Scottish league title and it has stuck with me ever since.
“Also, when I was at Huddersfield Town, we had a lad brought in who had worked with the British Lions rugby team on tour. He was top drawer and it just shows you that, in other areas, sports psychologists are widely used.”
(This article featured in the Paisley Daily Express newspaper on 20th June 2011)