HARRY Morrison's mindset changed this last pre-season.
After Morrison "overachieved", in his own words, by playing 21 senior games in Hawthorn's 2018 finals campaign, he bounced in and out of AFL ranks last year.
"I felt like in my first couple of years there were no real expectations … but as soon as you're supposed to be in the side and you're not, there's a bit of external expectation – and I felt that," Morrison told AFL.com.au.
"So it was just releasing the valve a little bit and letting go a bit, especially at training, when there's not a whole lot on the line.
"You're trying to create a mindset where you don't really care if you make a mistake and you're just having fun, which is huge for me, because I lost a bit of love for the game at times last year, because I was so consumed by it all."
Morrison began weekly sessions with the club's sports psychologist, Tara, and developed strategies to cope with the pressure he was placing on himself.
Former players-turned-coaches Sam Mitchell, Chris Newman and Brett Deledio have also been important in rebuilding the 21-year-old's confidence.
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"I set pretty high standards and probably overachieved a little bit early in my short career, so to go from playing regularly to playing half the games last year, it was like, 'I'm not going in the right direction here'," Morrison said.
"So I was overthinking things. I wouldn't play that well on the weekend and I'd feel that early in the week, then I'd try to get myself up for the game and it was just this cycle I was going on.
"Instead of going on a cycle, I'm just trying to keep more level about it all and have a bit more of a holistic approach.
With Jarman Impey (knee) and Blake Hardwick (chest) sidelined until about mid-year, there was an opening across half-back.
Ex-Carlton coach Brendon Bolton, who's returned for a second stint as an assistant at Waverley Park, was integral not only in being a sounding board for Morrison but also returning him to defence post-Christmas.
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He's played in various positions already in his career but most commonly on a wing or at half-back.
The wing was a tough position to play at the Hawks last year, given Tom Scully's arrival, Ricky Henderson's career season and Isaac Smith's enduring star quality.
"The most frustrating thing last year was I knew I was a better player than I was 12 months before but it just wasn't showing," Morrison said.
"It's just a matter of doing it and showing it and believing it – that's the main thing, especially for a young player like myself. That can be most of the battle; just between the ears."
For the time being, Morrison is staying in the family home at Benalla, in north-east Victoria, plugging away on his business diploma, clocking up the PlayStation hours and playing guitar.
One thing he won't be doing is fretting about what Hardwick's and Impey's pending returns could mean for his place in the side.
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"I haven't thought that far ahead but hopefully I've done enough in the pre-season and early on to hold my spot at half-back," Morrison said.
"If I think about my spot in the side now, it'll do my head in over this break."
It's further proof that Morrison has left those negative thoughts from last year behind.