Mastering the Mind Game: Dr. Brad's Insights on MLS Playoff Pressures

dr. brad mls

Recently, our very own Dr. Brad was featured in an interview with AS, where he shared his expert knowledge on the psychological pressures that come with the MLS Cup Playoffs.

As one of the leading soccer psychologists in the United States and a leading figure in the field of sports mental health, Dr. Brad was posed with pivotal questions regarding how players can thrive under the intense pressures of playoff soccer.

Among the key insights, Dr. Brad underscored the importance of infusing fun into high-stakes games and the role of coaches in setting a calm, composed atmosphere. He delved into the psychological underpinnings that often sway athletes towards a natural negativity bias and how mental training can effectively counteract this predisposition. Here is an example of one of the questions he addressed:

What mental challenges do players face in high-pressure situations?

“Everybody – you, me, Lionel Messi – are hard-wired from birth to have 80% of our daily thoughts be negative. This means that we have four negative thoughts in our head for every one positive thought.”

“So if I’m a pro player in the playoffs, the night before a game my brain will put in four thoughts of things that could go wrong for every one thing that’s going to go well. During a game, maybe we go one goal down early. Again, my brain will give me four reasons why this is a disaster for every one reason why we can come back.”

“That’s what we’re up against. When we don’t have mental training that’s what will take over.”

“Teams that thrive in the playoffs will have players who understand that fact and can manage their emotions. When they are under pressure and their brain gets hijacked, they know how to get back to that calm, clear mind. Teams that have that capacity have a huge advantage.”

We're immensely proud to have Dr. Brad's expertise recognized on such a significant platform. This collaboration exemplifies our commitment to broadening the conversation around mental health in sports, providing athletes of all levels with the tools to understand and navigate their psychological challenges.

Our gratitude extends to AS for this opportunity to amplify our message, reinforcing that while mental challenges are universal, it's our individual responses that distinguish us. It's through foundations like ours that we can empower athletes to harness the power of positive thinking to enhance their performance on and off the field.

Check out the full article and gain a deeper appreciation of the mental fortitude required for playoff success by reading Dr. Brad's complete interview with AS

(Image: Jayne Kamin-Oncea / USA TODAY Sports)

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