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“It is a myth that you need to get up for it and you need that adrenalin or that edge”

In the press today, more learning from sport as to how we don't have to be so aggressive and 'on it' to be successful - how about we try 'mastery' of our skills in order to influence and inspire others around us. How Lyle Taylor was transformed into the AFC Wimbledon goal machine. Chartered Psychologist in Business & Sport, Steven Sylvester has been giving an insight into Lyle Taylor’s fairy-tale season at AFC Wimbledon. Taylor, who has now scored 22 goals in a campaign which has seen the perennial underdogs through to Monday’s League Two playoff final with Plymouth at Wembley, has attributed much of the transformation in his footballing fortunes to former Middlesex cricketer Steven Sylvester. The author of ‘Detox Your Ego,’ believes part of the secret of getting the best out of characters like Taylor is managing the tendency for a self-obsessive streak, fuelled further by the fans’ love for their main source of goals.

“I think any forward has a particular psyche like all-rounders in cricket would because they are a big part of the game,” he said. “Strikers have this element of inner drive where it is about them scoring goals whilst it is also about doing well for the team and it is just about learning to tread very carefully along that continuum. “Lyle because he is a bright lad slowly but surely understood that by actually focusing more on the team his performance itself would go through the roof.” Taylor has spoken of Sylvester’s capacity to keep him level, a necessity for a striker who has previously admitted playing on the edge. Sylvester supports the idea of riding on an emotional high – because it makes you think less and therefore less self-conscious and fearful. But at the same time he believes Taylor and other more high-profile strikers like Chelsea’s Diego Costa need to de-bunk the idea a fiery nasty streak is a pre-requisite of peak performance.

“It is a myth that you need to get up for it and you need that adrenalin or that edge,” he added. “I actually think you don’t need the edge. “I think it is a myth and a contradiction that if I get close to the edge that will then lead me to play really well. “What is really happening is there is a freedom when players get sparked emotionally and they tend to have better games because they are thinking less and simply running on the emotional high of the context of the contest.

“It is much better for Lyle not to be on the edge and we have seen just unbelievable performances because he is realising his stature in the game, what he can contribute beyond just himself and he isn’t simply measured on scoring a goal or not scoring a goal.”


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