Declan Rice: How to Cultivate a Winner’s Mindset
West Ham United and England superstar, Declan Rice is the latest Prevayl Pro to join our elite team of sporting greats. We sat down with Declan following his first training session with Prevayl to talk all things leadership, childhood and that winner's mentality. We’re thrilled to have Declan on the team and looking forward to supporting and tracking his training journey with Prevayl SmartWear™.
Where did you love for football come from?
The first memories I have of football are with my parents. We have family photos of me at home in the garden, still in a nappy kicking a ball as soon as I could walk. My dad always took me down to the local park and threw it or kicked it to me, so I could kick it back to him. I was out there even if it was raining or snowing. So my parents definitely knew what I wanted to do from a very young age.
How did you juggle childhood with football training? Did you have to trade off a 'normal' life for training?
I was very close to my mum and dad, we did everything together. So moving away from home, my family and friends and starting a new school when I joined West Ham was a big decision! I was homesick for a couple of years, but it was the right route for me. I didn’t do the house parties or any of the stuff other kids my age were doing, but I’ve put in the work and I’ve had experiences in football I would never want to change.
How do you remain level-headed when you hear that you could be the next Premier League or England great?
You can never let these things get in your head. You mustn’t get complacent, but you also can’t allow yourself to feel the pressure. You have to keep working hard and focusing on being the best you can be. There are a lot of proud West Ham people because I am playing for England and of course I’d love to be a Premier League/England great – but I don’t focus on that.
FITNESS & MOTIVATION
Do you think it's important to have likeminded and motivated people around you to make it all the way to the top?
I think it’s really important in football to motivate yourself. You have to want it, at all times. There are players out there who are amazingly talented but haven’t gone as far, just because someone else wanted it more. But of course it helps to have other likeminded people around you, to inspire you and push you. You can see how happy I am on the pitch!
How important is the mental game and psychology of sports and performance?
It’s really important. I don’t get fazed too easily to be honest. You have to be on your game constantly. The competition is strong, so you need to keep your head down, keep working and make sure the manager can’t leave you out. I try to think long-term; if one game doesn’t go how I wanted it to, I try to focus on the fact the next game is an opportunity to right any wrongs and improve on that performance.
What techniques have you adopted to cultivate that winning mentality?
One piece of advice that has really helped me in my career is “you train how you play”. If you train and give your all from Monday to Friday, it’s likely that on Saturday you’ll be the most prepared you can be to perform. So physically, and mentally – you’re in the zone and no one is going into that game with an upper hand on you.
Being a part of the England set up this summer must have been amazing; Have you had a chance to process the whole experience?
It was the most incredible experience! I watched England’s last tournament in the 2018 World Cup as a fan on holiday in Dubai, so I feel so grateful and proud to have been a part of England’s journey to the Euros finals. Of course we were disappointed not to win, we went in fully believing that we could but we’re taking the positives away and we’re ready for the World Cup. We’ve learnt a lot.
There seems to be a real togetherness within the England squad, how do you push club rivalries aside when you're battling against each other week in, week out?
Even in the Premier League, once the final whistle has blown there’s nothing but respect and friendship for other players, no matter if they’re your biggest club rival. There’s such sportsmanship. The Euros was such an amazing experience and it brought us all even closer together, the highs and the lows. We’ve built something really special and I can’t wait to see how that develops for the World Cup.