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Ireland’s world cup heroics and self-belief

Ireland’s women’s rugby team made history last week by beating the New Zealand Black Ferns in the Rugby World Cup, becoming only the second side in history to do so.

Irish Womens Rugby Match courtesy of thescore.ieAs the team gear up for a semi-final showdown against England, we look at what we can learn from them about self-belief and mental fortitude.

Expecting to win

Following the historic win, one would have expected captain Fiona Coughlan for being in a buoyant mood. Instead, she was a picture of focus and calm as she discussed a job well done.

“We were confident; we knew we had the ability.”


Despite playing the most dominant team in the game, the team had a strong sense of self belief. With faith in their coaches, game plan, and each other, the team had no doubt about their ability to win the game.

Self-belief is important, not just in sport but in life generally.  By focusing on your strengths, you can develop a positive mindset to help achieve your goals.

Strength under pressure

Alison Miller, Ireland’s try scoring hero, echoed Coughlan’s sentiments, and talked about the “inherent self belief” in the squad. Faced with the all too familiar sight of a New Zealand comeback, the team could have wilted. Instead, they grew stronger. Miller said:

“We could have panicked, but that’s just not us.”

Performance under pressure has quickly become a trait associated with this team. This is not a skill that comes easy, but the good news is it can be learned and practiced.

Managing stress

Having the ability to deal with pressure can be a huge advantage. By being prepared and believing in yourself, the effect of pressure and stress can be greatly reduced.

While it is not always possible to completely eradicate pressure, we can learn to manage it and turn it into a positive force.  We can use to pressure to motivate ourselves into working to the best of our abilities, both on and off the pitch.

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