Gareth Bale has had a standout season for Real Madrid, scoring almost a goal each game and terrorising defences in Spain. So how does the Welsh Wizard perform at such a high level on a regular basis? What can you learn from the former Premier League player of the season? Here are 6 secrets from Gareth Bale that will make you a better player.
Know your enemy. Study their weaknesses, then exploit them
“We have a team meeting where the coaches will go through the opposition – how they play as a team and what each player does as an individual. This helps us see where they’re weak and where we can punish them. I also like to draw on past performances against an opponent. If I’ve played well against a defender previously, I’ll head into the game feeling confident. If not, I’ll just try to do what comes to me naturally and trust in my ability.”
Save your energy. Take a break to optimise your performance.
“If we’re playing on a Saturday afternoon, we’ll have a light training session on a Friday. It keeps our legs ticking over, but we don’t want to push hard. You want to save as much energy as possible for the game. As soon as I get home from training I relax and try to get 9-10 hours’ sleep that night. I try not to spend too much time thinking about the game. Once I’m out onthe pitch, I’m refreshed and focused.”
Prepare your body and mind. Reduce stress with routine.
“On a match day I get to the ground an hour and aa half before kick-off, mingle with the players in the dressing room and stretch. Everyone has their own individual program and routine. I like to make sure I’m fully hydrated before a game so that I can keep my energy levels up for 90 minutes. The players like to listen to rap and dance music to get them fired up. I’m not tense before a match; Ijust relax and think about playing my natural game.”
Start with a bang. Give them a taste of what’s to come.
“It’s always good to start the game with a positive first touch. You have to choose the right time to run at defenders, but if you can get an early run at them that lets them know what they’re in for. If the defender gets the better of you first time out, don’t dwell on -just keep trusting your ability. Confidence’s half the battle. Press the defender when they have the ball. Force them into mistakes and knock their confidence. You want to get them worrying about you.”
Show no mercy. Beat your opponent into submission.
“When you’re battling an opponent you have to keep running at them. Don’t think twice. Usually they’ll try to bring someone over to try and help them, don’t let this phase you. Try and isolate the defender and take advantage of their tired legs.
Build mental resilience. A still tongue keeps a wise head.
“I never react when opposition players try and get in my head. If you respond by saying something, that means they’re getting to you. I just say nothing, let them talk and when I get the ball I run at them to show them they haven’t affected me. I get the better of them by letting my football do the talking. Defenders have started to kick me more and sometimes teams will put three players on me, but this has forced meto develop further and find solutions for different scenarios.”
What did you learn from Gareth Bale?
Are you planning to hit the training pitch feeling inspired from Bale’s words of wisdom? Which tip are you looking to implement into your game? Let us know in the comments section below for your chance to win a $50 Premier Sports Memorabilia gift voucher.