The Telegraph
Saturday , July 19 , 2014
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To progress, you need to change the road you walk on: Mike Horn

‘Sometimes, silent presence is itself a way of motivating’
Mike Horn with Mats Hummels (left) and Per Mertesacker during a sailing trip in Brazil

London: Talismanic explorer and an in-demand motivational guru, Mike Horn, took questions from The Telegraph on Friday.

Horn, incidentally, turned 48 on Wednesday.


Q You’ve now helped two countries — India (2011) and Germany — win the World Cup in different disciplines... Your feelings?

A I’ve learned from the experiences, experiences that could be applied to any sport. Of course, I do realise that one can’t always win, one can’t always be successful.

Credit goes to...

The players, without a doubt. We only help prepare them. I’d like to add that the quality of the support staff does matter.

What makes the difference in a World Cup final?

Mental and physical fitness, team bonding, good preparation... The support staff needs to be special as well... (Coach) Joachim Loew, in my view, is great.

Is that all?

No... You need to dominate, grab the chances... A strong sense of belief and the will to win is important. You have to give more than the opponent... You have to place more on the table... Obviously, you need to play with freedom and you need to play your game. That’s critical... It holds good for cricket and football.

Essentially, what’s the line you take?

My philosophy is simple: That in order to progress, you need to change the road you walk on. If needed, you have to challenge yourself. Also, win or lose, you need to learn from experiences.

How much time did you spend with the Philipp Lahms on returning to Brazil, before last Sunday’s World Cup final?

I spent a day with the Germans at their base, in Campo Bahia, before they took the flight to Rio.

What did you tell the Thomas Muellers?

Actually, I didn’t have to say much. Sometimes, silent presence is itself a way of motivating. You don’t see the energy, but it can be felt.

You must have said something...

Socially, I spoke to all the players and the support staff. Later, I had one on ones... I had lunch with everybody.

What was the mood like? Supremely confident?

The German players were in very good space mentally... They were flowing smoothly... With a match remaining, they wanted to take ownership of their responsibilities. They were motivated.

Confident, but not over-confident?

Germany didn’t take anything for granted... They’d raised the bar (in the semi-final, against Brazil) and wanted to keep it going.

Very early in the World Cup, you’d told me that Germany were in Brazil for “only one reason — to win...” You got it right...

Because that’s what I’d sensed at their base, in the build-up to the World Cup. They had so much energy waiting to be released.

You didn’t go for the final?

No... I had to finalise my expedition plans... I was in Salvador that day.

What did you make of Germany’s win in the final, against Argentina?

The Argentines were worthy opponents... Not taking anything for granted helped Germany. They’d set a high standard.

Brazil’s still in mourning, after being thrashed by Germany. Your message to the Brazilians?

A lot has to go wrong before something can go right... It’s going to be a long and rocky road for Brazil... They need to learn from the World Cup. The Brazilians supported Germany (in the final) because they couldn’t have accepted an Argentine win on their soil. Sworn enemies, after all.

The last one... With another feather in your cap, how best does one describe you?

As an explorer, who keeps pushing the boundaries. Exploration remains my life. That, indeed, will always be my priority.