How to Play a Final?


Yesterday, France won the 2018 Soccer World Cup organized in Russia.

In sports, there are many examples where a team or an athlete is the favorite, doesn’t play that well…but still wins…or loses, surprisingly.

Yesterday, after 30 minutes of play, France had scored 2 goals without leading a single offense and without even shooting the ball. They had a free kick, shot the ball and one Croatian scored in his own goal. France then shot a corner kick. A Croatian touched the ball with his hand and the referre called it a penalty kick.

After 60 minutes of play, France lead 4-1 after shooting the ball only 5 times. Croatia had a better mindset and 61% of ball possession but they lost. France won because they’re more talented, more opportunistic, more realistic and maybe more athletic.

In sports, a great mindset doesn’t guarantee any victory. But if you have a great mindset, you will either win or be in peace with your loss because you gave your best. If you don’t have the right mindset, you will either win or be disappointed because you didn’t play well.

A few hours before yesterday’s game, I said to my family, “It will be interesting to see France’s mindset. In 1998, they won against Brazil. But when you play versus a genius team like the Brazil soccer team, it’s easy to be motivated because you know your only chance to win is to give your best effort and to play your best game. Mindset wise, it’s easy to play against a great team. You’re going to give all you have. But what is your mindset when you play against a less talented team like Croatia? It’s a lot harder to be agressive against such team and to play as if it was your last game. What is your mindset when you are the favorite and when you supposedly can win without giving your best?”

This kind of game is a trap. In sports, it’s complicated to be 75% agressive. You’re either more or less agressive than the opponent. If I am more agressive than you, I look like I am 100% agressive and you look like you’re 0% agressive. There is no percentage. It’s either “agressive” or “not agressive”.

They key to win a Final or, to be in peace with your loss, is to play it as if you were going to play against your toughest opponent. When France plays the All-Blacks in rugby, France wins because they played amazing or France loses because the All-Blacks are just too great. Against New-Zealand, France never loses because they suck.

How do you play a Final?

Play it as if you were going to play against your toughest and most feared opponent, against Federer in tennis, against Brazil in soccer, against Brownlee in triathlon, against the USA in basketball, against Phelps in swimming…

If you play a Final tomorrow, don’t worry about the actual name of your opponent, only picture yourself playing against your toughest opponent. Picture yourself giving the same effort you would give playing against your toughest opponent. You will automatically be 100% motivated and agressive.

If this mind trick is not enough, picture your toughest opponent tell the media the day before the race or the game that you’re a pussy and that you’re weak. Imagine your toughest opponent talking trash to you.

Your intensity will automatically be in the right zone.

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Thank you.

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