Sam Allardyce is confident he will keep his cool as the fight for Premier League survival comes to a head – thanks to transcendental meditation.
The 61-year-old Sunderland manager is renowned for belief in the benefits of sports science in football, but he has revealed that he also regularly uses the relaxation technique, to which he in part attributes his longevity in the game.
Allardyce, who is attempting to steer the Black Cats out of relegation trouble with just three games remaining, said: “I do transcendental meditation and I have done for 12, 14 years now. It’s very relaxing, very calming and you can do it anywhere.
“It helps you cope with the pressure you come under in this job. When it was brought for the players by us at Bolton in about 2003-04, I was always one of those guys that says, ‘try it yourself’.
“You have a better understanding then if you try it yourself and if the players talk about it and say, ‘well, that’s a load of rubbish, you can say, ‘well, actually I use it and I don’t find it to be like that, so you must be a bit of a non-believer’.
“But I read the science on transcendental meditation and if you read the science, it gives you a better insight into how it helps you reduce your blood pressure and keeps you calmer and how easy it is to carry out.
“Fifteen minutes, half an hour – you don’t have to be going into a quiet room with music on or anything like that, you can be anywhere at any time finding a relatively quiet place and do 15, 20, 25 minutes and it refreshes you and makes you feel good to push on.
“But it has helped me cope with the pressure of management. That’s why I am still doing it today, probably.”
Allardyce is convinced meditation works for him, although he is not about to recommend it to any of his colleagues.
He said with a smile: “I don’t talk to them about it, actually, because if it helps them, it might make them better when they play against me, so why should I help them?”
The former West Ham boss knows Sunderland have to help themselves this weekend if they are to emerge from Chelsea’s visit to the Stadium of Light with a positive result after they slipped back into the drop zone last weekend, although he is aware that will not be easy despite the Blues’ struggles this season.
Allardyce said: “It’s the biggest surprise – apart from Leicester winning the league. It’s the biggest surprise that they faltered, particularly in the early part of the season, as much as they did.
“Leicester have continued what they were doing and Chelsea have pulled away from down at the bottom now, but it’s been a very poor season by their standards.”