When a club like Leicester City achieve a feat as big as winning the Premier League against all odds, people want to know the secret, and sometimes it’s all in the head.
Obviously, the physical aspect of the game is incredibly important because if you’re not fully fit, you can’t give it your all on the pitch.
However, no matter how fit you are, if you don’t have the right frame of mind, things can degenerate very quickly, and one loss can affect you more than it would your teammate, for example.
This is why most clubs hire a sports psychologist to help players deal with adversity, whether it is injury related or if the club are going through a bad spell.
At Leicester, that man is Ken Way, who also works with people in other sports, including sailing, as explained by Alex Thomson, who came 3rd in the 2012 Vendée Globe, sailing around the world in 80 days, 19 hours and 23 minutes.
Speaking to Capital, the yachtsman pointed out what made Leicester’s psychologist so special.
He said: “He’s worked with various champions in the most varied disciplines. He’s known because he worked with Leicester City. He’s someone who helps you having a winning mentality.
“His work really helps me when I’m sailing in the south and you’re far from everything, sailing quickly with huge amounts of wind.”
Thomson then went on to explain how Ken Way helped him ‘visualise’ his route from above (to help with the fear of hitting an iceberg, container or even a whale) to calm himself down when the adrenaline is pumping and he’s trying to go to sleep when the boat is going full pelt in the middle of the ocean.
We’re not sure Jamie Vardy or Riyad Mahrez will need the same technique, as whales aren’t something you encounter everyday on a football pitch, but it certainly shows how flexible you need to be when being a sports psychologist.
Ken Way admitted last season was a bit of a doddle, as being in a title race ‘is not a stressful situation’, but if Leicester’s season in the Premier League continues to be as inconsistent as their start, he might have a busier workload in the coming months.