The first trophy of the English football season just decided gave as good a goalless game as you could hope to see. A terrific match.
The winners finally crowned after an incredible shootout. When the run of twenty-one successful spot-kicks ended with the losing team's (subbed-in) goalkeeper failing to emulate his opposite number the turn before, and instead blasting over the bar.
The triumphant manager, German Jurgen Klopp, put the victory down in no small part to a neuroscience team working with his players on their mental strength.
Their guidance concerns “accuracy training”. Especially helpful apparently, for focus on delivering set pieces. Particularly the hottest of pressure situations; penalties.
The greeting homepage strapline of these consultants, specifically aimed at elite athletes, is enticing;
"control your brain when it matters most".
The present collection of limited material on their public media profiles show football stars wearing electrodes attacked to their skulls as they practice dead-ball strikes.
Presumably to understand which parts of the brain light up at what moments as they succeed or fail with the kick. Allowing personal plans to ensure the wrong brain activity does not cloud the vital slice of time, and only the desired flares fire.
We may well be quite some time from wearing a cap-full of electrodes ourselves in Sales training. Yet our selling arena has its own high-pressure events too.
Do we know what these are? Liverpool Football Club know theirs;
to make progress as a team they wanted to finesse their work from “direct free kicks, wide free kicks, penalties and corners”.
We have our own list of 'set-piece' plays.
Indeed, it can be a fairly long one.
From answering the deceptively devilish 'what do you do?' enquiry, through general pitches, objection handles and storytelling, all the way to discovery set-ups, visual presentation and closing routines.
Which apply to you? What others do you have? How are you too setting out to finesse them?
So that when done in the heat of the sales call, you are truly 'in the zone'. That vaunted state of 'flow'. Where you don't have to think, just do.
And crucially in this example, you know what gets you into that stable, optimal place.
I often lament about the internal level of genuine coaching inside salesteams. Not because the people tasked with it are useless. Far from it. But because the structures that enable it to take root, let alone blossom, are seldom in place.
Why not kick-off your accuracy training with one set-piece of your own?