Petanque Is A Mind Game
Like many sports your mental attitude can have as much an effect on your performance as your skill or stamina. If you’ve ever been at 0-8 down in a game and you win a point, then another, then a couple more your heart begins to soar, and so does your confidence. And guess what – your opponent’s confidence drops accordingly!
There are a number of things that help to keep your mind in the right place. Tricks like when your first shot wasn’t that good and you need to mentally make a fresh start - step out of the circle, clear your mind then step back again.
Use a quick mental checklist to focus your mind before playing each boule. Here’s an example –
STANCE: are you standing correctly, square on, feet semi apart, one behind the other for stability
HOLD: are you gripping the boule with your fingers, thumb out of the way
ANGLE: remember, get your knuckle going straight over the cosh when you throw
LENGTH: a difficult one, look where you’ll land, hard or soft, is the piste up or downhill
LEAN: Is the piste sloping left or right, where have previous boules gone, do you aim off
Put all this together and you have “S H A L L”, “I shall succeed!!” Or whatever works for you!!
Here’s an odd one, try seeing the boule in reverse. That is, imagining the boule coming back to you from where you want it to end up, all the way back into your hand. This can help you prepare your mind for the best shot. Sounds odd but let Jean Francois explain it to you, try it and you may be convinced.
These are but three little techniques, there are many such mental tricks to give you an edge. Talk to an experienced player or trainer.
Playing As A Team
Playing as a team rather than just 2 or 3 individuals can be psychologically very powerful. Supporting one another gives great confidence. Don’t play as separate people, stand close together, discuss and agree tactics, measure together to avoid mistakes, support your team mates with congratulations. If they know you’re on their side and you feel for their misses and are pleased at their successes they will play better. Fairly obvious stuff but watch at any of our Club games, it’s amazing how few teams really do this.
Concentrate, Don’t Be Distracted
At Club games a fair bit of chat and laughter can go on. That’s great, it’s part of the Club’s atmosphere and certainly not to be discouraged. But it can be quite distracting when you really want to play your best. Distraction can easily reduce a team’s performance. A team on top of its game will focus on what’s got to be done, they’ll know the opposition’s boule marks (no asking ‘who’s boule is this’), they’ll know the score, they won’t ask ‘how many boule have you got left’ because they’ll know that too, they’ll know what shot is needed and they’ll agree who should play it. None of this is particularly difficult but concentrating or focussing on the game will make a big difference to your team’s chance of success. Don’t let yourself be distracted!