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Dublin: 11°C Wednesday 16 June 2021

8 rugby tips to help you keep your cool in the real world

Inspired by former Ireland fullback, Conor O’Shea.

AS WE NEAR the end of the rugby season, it turns out that there’s lot from the game you can apply to your real life.

No, not embracing gum shields as an everyday fashion accessory (although they are an attractive look) but rather that there are many lessons that could be applied to real situations in your life.

Inspired by Irish rugby legends like Conor O’Shea (the only Irishman coaching an international rugby team, no less), here are some invaluable tips on taking lessons from the pitch into real life.

1. Play to your strengths

Source: Giphy

Knowing your strengths, and playing to them, is the best way to move forward, whether it’s in work or life generally. If you’re confident in who you are and what you can bring to any situation, it makes things so much easier to navigate.

Conor O’Shea, former fullback for Ireland and the next Italy head coach, has this to say about playing to your strengths and being yourself:

I talk to a lot of our players and they ask me what should they be, what would I like them to be? And I say, just be yourself.

2. Step outside your comfort zone

Rugby players can take a bit of a beating during a game alright, from partaking in scrums to taking balls to face – there’s a reason they wear those headbands and gum shields, after all.

Pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone physically and mentally is as key in rugby as it is in life. Gritting your teeth and working through discomfort will get you a lot farther in the long run that taking the easy route (even if it doesn’t feel like it at the time).

3. Take the ball running – if you stand still you get left behind

Source: Mariana Amaro via Flickr/CC

No matter what you’re doing, whether it’s trying to get a promotion or trying to get fit, the best thing to do is keep moving forward. You don’t have to compare yourself to anyone else, you just have to compare yourself to the you of yesterday – and improve on that.  Conor says:

 You have to be continually challenging, continually looking to improve, because it’s the oldest cliché in the book – if you stand still you get left behind.

4. Take a deep breath before you kick at the goal

PastedImage-31207 Source: INPHO/Donall Farmer

No matter what situation  you’re facing, it makes sense to stand back, and like a kicker sizing up the goalpost, take ten seconds to consider what you’re about to do. It’s about weighing up your options rather than just diving straight in. You’ll have more clarity about the possible outcomes of what you’re facing if you take a few deep breaths before making a decision.

5. Kicking for touch isn’t always the best idea…

Source: Youtube

While it may seem easier to opt for instant gratification and small wins in life, sometimes you need to step back and take stock of the overall dream. It may mean taking risks, but if there’s a bigger payoff then do your research and trust your gut.

6. A delicate touch can often be more productive

Source: World Rugby/YouTube

When you’re dealing with a difficult situation, it can sometimes feel like the only option is to go in with guns blazing and go down in a blaze of glory, no matter what the consequences.

However, it’s usually more prudent to go for the ‘softly softly’ approach, so as to try and minimise any fallout from hard actions or decisions.

7. Be prepared to put in the hard yards

PastedImage-84718 Source: Flickr/CC

Regardless of what it is you’re trying to achieve – a promotion at work, writing a novel on the side, or learning guitar, you’re going to have to put in the hard work to reap the rewards.

There’s no way to get to your goal except putting the head down and putting in the time.

8. Play to the final whistle

Conor O'Shea scoring a try for Ireland Source: YouTube

No matter how the match is going, rugby players play to the final whistle and it’s the same in life. You just have to keep on going because as we all know from the 2009 Ireland v Wales match, (where Wales missed a last-minute penalty and Ireland ultimately won the Grand slam and Triple Crown) everything can change in the final minutes.

Have you any rugby-inspired tips to share? Let us know in the comments below.

Here’s a video with former Ireland fullback, Conor O’Shea as he reveals what he looks for in his players and his thoughts on his upcoming challenge with the Italian rugby team.

Source: Event Junkies/YouTube

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About the author:

Edel Corrigan

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