Vera Pauw’s half time talk

After the ladies World Cup match the other day in which Australia, the host country, narrowly defeated Ireland by one goal to nil I listened carefully to what Vera Pauw said on the six one news.

She said that she told her girls at half time that the match would be won and lost by one mistake.

Imagine being in that dressing room and playing in front of the largest audience you had ever experienced in the most important game of your life and the manager has just told you not to make a mistake.

Don’t be the one to let down your teammates. Don’t let down the country.

How would the reminder that “one mistake will win/lose this game” help?

How useful was it?

The easiest way to not make a mistake is not to make anything.

I believe it was a truly shocking, unhelpful, counterproductive thing to say.

It is like telling a high wire walker that if she falls 60 feet she will be catastrophically injured.

She knows this. She does not need to be reminded. She needs to be encouraged to stick to her process, stick to the game plan. Enjoy the experience.

Not, “are you going to be the one who makes the mistake and lets us all down?”

And, of course, in the second half, guess what happened.