Each week, footballers are forced to make hundreds of split-second decisions that can define their team’s success or failure.

Many a coach will tell you that it’s often these moments that define games. A single moment of complete focus can permit a forward to deliver the perfect cross and allow defenders to hold strong under intense pressure.

“Being mentally prepared is the most crucial preparation a player can make,” Jas Virdee, Nike Academy Most Wanted Australia coach, told THE TURF.

“Being in a state of optimal mental arousal will ensure clarity of mind and quicker, more efficient transfer of neural messages from your brain to your muscles.”

Today, modern football demands players to train their brain as they train their bodies physically and tactically. An unshakeable mentality allows the world’s best to excel under the eyes of thousands, week-in, week-out, without failure.

“Mental clarity and emotional stability will ensure that in situations when you make mistakes, opponents are frustrating you or you are in a losing position; you will be able to keep in control and be an asset to your team,” Virdee continued.

This month several of Australia’s best young footballers are training to earn a spot in the prestigious NIKE Academy. (unknown number) players have been selected from trials across Australia to compete at the Most Wanted Pacific Finals for a spot in the Global Showcase, the NIKE Academy.

“The Most Wanted Finals is intended to test exactly that; who wants it most. Are you intrinsically motivated enough to want the opportunity more than the person next to you?”

To assist players to prepare mentally for the Most Wanted Finals, NIKE encouraged players to use the new ‘Priming’ drill on the NIKE Football App to mentally “warm up before a match.”

“The Priming drill will test your reaction time and decision making. There are hundreds of instances within a match where a player must assess the situation, decide what to do, and put those actions into place; all in a split second,” Virdee told the Most Wanted finalists.

Like the Most Wanted Finalists and the worlds best, you too can now improve your mental strength by training your brain with the new Pro Genius in the NIKE Football App. In the ‘Training Section’ of the app, you’ll find a range of drills used by the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Jerome Boateng and Mario Gotzë, which you too can use to improve your game.

Download the NIKE Football App on iPhone and Android.

This post is sponsored by Nike.