Xavi Simons seen during recording of the Mind Set Win podcast in Leipzig, Germany on April 9, 2024
© Florian Eisele/Motivio/Red Bull Content Pool
Soccer

This podcast unlocks the mental tactics that Xavi Simons uses to win

Footballers are human too! RB Leipzig midfielder Xavi Simons and mental trainer Dr Peter Schneider talk high performance in the latest Mind Set Win podcast.
Written by Chiara Koeck
5 min readUpdated on
Season 3 of the Mind Set Win podcast begins with a bang as Dutch international Xavi Simons and RB Leipzig psychologist Dr Peter Schneider join new host Lisa Ramuschkat in a revealing chat about mental performance in elite level football.
Xavi grew up as a player and a person at Barcelona’s youth academy, La Masia and he’s been in the media spotlight since he was just a kid. He went on to play for Paris St Germain and PSV Eindhoven before moving on loan to RB Leipzig in 2023 and, having just turned 21, he he's established himself as one of the most effective, and exciting, attacking players in the Bundesliga.
As mental performance coach for Leipzig, Dr Schneider focuses on getting to know players like Xavi as people, while helping them develop the mental flexibility to thrive amid the high-pressure world of professional football.
Xavi Simons and Dr. Peter Schneider seen during the recording of the Mind Set Win podcast in Leipzig, Germany on April 9, 2024.

Xavi Simons and Peter Schneider

© Florian Eisele/Motivio/Red Bull Content Pool

The first part of the episode, airing on Tuesday, sees Xavi and Peter discuss their relationship, Xavi’s development, and the mental approach he employs on and off the field. In the second part of the episode, dropping on Thursday, Lisa is joined by York-Peter Klöppel, Head of Mental performance at Red Bull’s Athlete Performance Centre, who will offer additional insights and demonstrate how we can use the kinds of tactics employed by professional athletes and other high performers to get better at what we do in our daily lives.
For Xavi, one of the key lessons learned is that you can’t expect to be perfect all the time – no matter how talented you are.
“Sometimes it’s hard to accept that you’re human, because you’re in a bubble and you want to do everything perfect and lead by example, and you want to show everyone that you’re there to perform. But you have weeks where you drop down and then you go up, so it’s like full on emotions – you have to keep a balance.” he tells Lisa.
Moving around different clubs has meant learning to adapt to new surroundings, and finding top form, as quickly as possible. And while being in the spotlight has never bothered him, he’s glad of the support of his family, including a brother who makes sure they never talk about football unless they’re actually watching a game.
Tune in to the episode to hear Xavi on music and fashion, and the heated games of Uno they play behind the scenes.
Dr. Peter Schneider seen during the recording of the Mind Set Win podcast in Leipzig, Germany on April 9, 2024.

Dr. Schneider is the mental performance coach for RB Leipzig

© Florian Eisele/Motivio/Red Bull Content Pool

“Just talking about normal stuff, like normal people, that helps me as well”, he says.
That personal side of the relationship is of key importance to Dr Schneider as well.
“The boys are so much more than just the 90 minutes you see on the weekend, and that’s something to be celebrated in my opinion. That’s one of my favourite things I like to do – figure out who they are besides football.” he says.
Lisa Ramuschkat and Xavi Simons seen during the recording of the Mind Set Win podcast in Leipzig, Germany on April 9, 2024.

Xavi Simons and Lisa Ramuschkat

© Florian Eisele/Motivio/Red Bull Content Pool

Dr Schneider differentiates between mental toughness and mental flexibility – a quality he regards as being at the heart of a good mindset. It’s not about being invincible, he says. On the contrary, “you’re allowed to feel weak and angry,” Dr Schneider explains. “That’s what a good mindset is – accepting that you’re human and still being able to perform."
Now take a listen to the second part of the podcast, where Lisa and York-Peter discuss the real life applications that you can take away from this interview:

The mental tactics we can take away from this

In a conversation with Lisa, the APC’s head of mental performance York-Peter Klöppel unpacks the most significant takeaways from this episode. He also offers some exercises that we can all use to improve our self-confidence and learn how to reduce the amount of stress we take home.
Here is a summary of each theme and the techniques you can use to build these strengths.
Being able to switch off your mind after a stressful day is a simple skill that is easier said than done. As York-Peter underlines, it’s important “to get that balance right.” He recommends timing your thoughts or deliberately steering a conversation in another direction as a way of signalling to your brain that the stress is over. The exercise is simple:
1. When you come home after a stressful day, actively guide conversations with your partner/roommate away from your source of stress.
2. But if you live alone, dedicate time to think about this source of stress by allocating 10-15 minutes to deal with it. Finish this topic in your head by for example writing notes, an action plan or sending that one last email.
Another topic that stands out is self-confidence, where York-Peter explains four main sources of confidence: verbal persuasion, mental or physical state, precarious experiences and past experiences.
Focusing on verbal persuasion, York-Peter introduces an exercise to go along with this where the goal is to gain positive encouragement, which can come from surrounding people but also from yourself.
3. Talk to yourself! Look in the mirror and use positive and encouraging words to build your self-confidence.
“Saying that to your mirror image is weird but it works! So, try it!”
Lisa Ramuschkat and York-Peter Klöppel on Mind Set Win.

Building self-confidence is vital, says Klöppel

© Niko Zuparic/Red Bull Content Pool

Listen now to the the full conversation in Part A, and Part B where Lisa and York-Peter discuss the real life applications that you can take away from this interview.
Curious to watch the interview? Check out the Mind Set Win YouTube channel with the full episode and even more bonus content.