It’s not just our pockets that hurt with cup exits!

So unless you’ve been in a cave, desert island, or even living under a rock, you would have seen how our beloved England rugby team didn’t even make it past the pool stage in the World Cup after two hugely disappointing defeats at the hands of our commonwealth friends! But there was definitely no common wealth to be spread after this match as it’s been estimated that the nation is set to lose 3.5 billion in revenue due to our early exit.

Pubs, clubs, shops and restaurants are losing out on what would have been great business had the home Nation progressed!

But as the hangover is sobering up, the criticisms, analysis, and never-ending debate kicks in.

So what was it? That certain players didn’t perform? Or that the wrong players were picked? Maybe it was strange tactical errors and decisions which left some ‘rugby experts’ baffled and shaking their heads in despair.

Let’s be honest, as a nation we love the critical debate, and we’re all pretty good at sticking the boot in when things don’t go well, (yes, even in moderate and civilized rugby circles!).

In fact, it has been argued by many that we’re probably the best at hyping up our National teams, specifically in the media, to the point that it actually hinders  performance rather than supporting it! (dalthough I have a sneaky feeling other nations would probably claim that title too!)

So why did England fail to go through?

Maybe it was the pressure? Perhaps they stepped off the gas when the Wales game looked like it’d been won? Maybe the stress had affected their decision making abilities and shut down the Sensory Cortex, where the ‘thinking’ takes place? Is it that we just can’t handle pressure the way other nation’s do? I remember an ex-Italian football player saying before England’s game against Italy in the Brazilian world cup that the Italian’s “Eat pressure for breakfast”! England lost that game, followed by the next one, and consequently failed to reach the second round.

So was it the same with the Rugby lads?

Was the pressure to perform, not just in the pool stage, but expectation of lifting the cup itself just a little too much to ask considering the glorious win in 2003?

Do comments like this, from former England International, Jeremy Guscott help or hinder (and do the players really ignore what’s said in the press?)

“It seems clear that most of England’s players are struggling to find their best form under the intense pressure of a home Rugby World Cup.

I hoped every England player would be inspired to play their best rugby and rise to the occasion like a lot of the Team GB athletes did during the 2012 Olympics.

They should be flourishing under this support and buoyed by the feel-good factor, but instead they seem to be burdened by it.”

Or was it simply that England weren’t good enough – at this stage in development?

Going back to my earlier comment about how England’s exit has affected the nation financially, the London Business School predicted that the loss to Australia would cost the FTSE 3.5 billion, which would make even the most cold blooded investors think twice, as the psychological aspect of failure can affect not just your mood about that particular game, but also about life in general!

I don’t know about you, but I distinctly remember that when the last two football World Cups were on, the England side didn’t go as far as we’d all hoped, and I remember the rest of those summer’s being a bit of a drag as I was left with nothing to do for the remaining weeks. I was surprised how exhausted I was from investing all my time and energy to support them.

I took a holiday from work, I bought shirts, flags, and even bunting just so we could be knocked out in the group stage… Great! It was the same with everyone else, the amount of people I saw milling around the streets looking for a pub they could squeeze into amazed me; but after just two games they were all gone! You could clearly see the disappointment in the staff’s faces, they looked dejected, heads down and no spring in their step, and walking out into the street and it was just the same.

Fact is, we as a nation have always backed our sports personalities and teams, ( and rightly so) but has it become a routine of extreme expectation due to all the hype the media put out there, followed by extreme disappointment as those expectations aren’t met.

Having just joined Inside Performance I’m looking forward to finding out a bit more about how I can manage my emotions, as I don’t think I can take anymore!!

From what I understand so far (all of three weeks!) NLP can help us change our emotional state and re-frame the way we think about things so that we can choose how we want to feel about something.

If that applies the the players, then that can apply to me!

I’m looking forward to my time here, as this NLP, or Neuro Linguistic Programming (Yikes!) sounds pretty powerful stuff, and after my recent disappointment, I’m going to milk it for all it’s worth!

As Francis of Assisi once said “Start by doing what’s necessary, then do what’s possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible”.

Bring it on, I say!