Pain gains from new headspace

Connor Pain believes a more positive mindset is key to taking his cracking pre-season form into the new Hyundai A-League season and the Westfield FFA Cup.

“I’ve come back with a fresh mind,” Pain told

“It’s the whole confidence thing with me. When I back myself in a one-v-one I’m a much better contributor to the team.

“Whenever I can get myself in the right headspace… I’ve been working long and hard [on it] over the off-season break.”

So far, it appears to be working with the lightning fast winger netting six goals during the pre-season, including a hat-trick in a recent 10-0 drubbing of Ballarat Red Devils.

It augurs well as Victory eye a Westfield FFA Cup date with ACT side Tuggeranong United ahead of the new Hyundai A-League campaign in October.

It’s been a welcome start for a player who last season experienced an at times tough introduction to the Hyundai A-League after making his way up from the local state league.

The 20-year-old Hong Kong-born striker sought out senior members of the Victory squad and family for advice. 

Understanding that football is often played above the shoulders is what he’s learning after his first full season as a pro footballer. 

“They stressed not to dwell on mistakes,” Pain explained.

“And I guess people tell you that when you’re younger and it goes in one ear and out the other.

“But being in a positive mindset is the way to go for me and I realise if you make a mistake no problem, go and fix it. That’s where I’ve gotten better.

“I’ve learnt not to take the highs too high or the lows too low – just keep on an even keel.”

Off contract at the end of the season, season ten will be a crucial one for the up-and-coming Victory man who caught the eye against Liverpool in July, 2013, in front of 95,000 at the MCG and who also was called up to the Socceroos for the EAFF Cup that month.

Aside from mindsets, Pain is relishing working closely with Besart Berisha. The Albanian international will play at the point as a high striker with Victory’s attacking riches expected to play off the Championship winner.

“With Bes and Archie their sharpness at training every day. There’s no day when they’re not sharp – Gui [Finkler] as well,” said Pain.

“Even when they have a session that’s not so good still their movement off the ball is ridiculous.

“It’s where I want to improve myself. And with the new system we’re implementing this season, it’s going to suit people like me. You can run at players one-v-one.”

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