Seahawk Super Bowl Victory and the Mental Game
These are the conversations I had with people on Facebook and Twitter. It made the game even more fun. Thought some would like to listen in regarding the Seahawk Super Bowl Victory and the Mental Game
- It’s Super Bowl Sunday. Less than 5 hrs until kickoff. Seattle Seahawks vs Denver Broncos. My two favorite teams. I worked with the Broncos on their first visit to the Super Bowl. I have a lot of roots in Denver. This is the first time I’ve wanted a different team to win. So I ask the question. Will it come down to Xs & Os? Might I suggest that it is really about The Mental Game. Which team will be calm under pressure? Which team has the mental toughness to excel? Will Manning shake Sherman’s confidence? Will he even pass in that direction? These are the difference makers. You know, no matter what level of play, it’s always the mental game.
- I did say it was all about the mental game.
- I’m just about that Rainbow, boss. http://t.co/YHFP5Ij4PB” This is a Skittle thing. But it is one of the things that will be iconic about the game.
- Congrats Seahawks and 12s. Great game tonight. Totally dominated. It really did show how when a team is mentally prepared the difference it makes. Seahawks preach the mental game. It’s part of their weekly focus Should be everyone’s. Go Hawks!
- (From my FB Friend Steven) Mike, mental preparation before the game is so important, but what struck me tonight as I saw pictures ot the Denver players on the sideline in the 3rd & 4th quarters, was mental collapse. The point were a player decides his team is going to lose, & simply ceases to try to win. How does one prepare a team to fight to the finish?
- (from my friend Karin) It was clear early on their faces, they were done.
- (My comment back to Steven) I saw that as well. I think it has to do with conviction. A belief that it really isn’t over until it’s over. One of the key components of mental toughness is perseverance. Can you keep trying when the wheels fall off. Keep in mind that Manning set a completion record as did Thomas with receptions. But not everyone could when I look at Hawks I see team. Broncos have great individuals.
- (Steven’s reply) Yes CONVICTION, but also individual PERSEVERANCE plus COMMITMENT to the team, which is why I so much like their mantra, “WHY NOT US?”
- (my reply) Agree. It’s what I work with on all of my clients and teams. Same with business clients. Not everyone gets cooperative competition. But as we both know with conviction, commitment and perseverance most things are possible. Not to be left off is trust. Trusting coaches, teammates and staff. Doesn’t matter if it’s playing football, business, medicine or driving a car.
- It has been interesting reading the media reports today on the game. Most, not all of the dislike of the Seahawks is over. Blame of course being thrown at Peyton Manning, which is OK as he can handle it. Better to be thrown at him. If it was thrown to a receiver it would either be dropped or they would fall down after the catch. The line of course couldn’t stop it. Peyton is the real deal. It was a game. A loss and butt kicking, but in the end just a game. His character never in doubt. Everyone should read Richard Sherman‘s account on how Manning sought him out to see how his injury was. Credit Manning and Sherman for recognizing that even as it is the game, their is still more to life. My son saw a report in NYC that the Seahawks bought the game. Now that’s one I would have never thought of. Preparation for next season according to Carroll has already begun. Victory definitely goes to those who are mentally prepared. Parade is on Wednesday. Take off a day or two and let’s start getting ready for next season. The one thing I can’t get enough of is Mental Preparation – BOSS. Go Hawks!
- Until I moved to the Seattle area 15 years ago I was a big Bronco fan. I got my start in Sport Psychology in Denver. The first team I did any work for was the Broncos. But after a few years watching Mike Holmgren turn things around here, I started following both teams. When Pete Carroll arrived and I started watching him carefully, I read his book “Win Forever” and I went all in. The biggest post game story I heard was from Richard Sherman. Sherman wanted to acknowledge his respect for Manning. Manning came up to him to make sure he wasn’t hurt badly. After a crushing defeat when you can care about your antagonist, you are really something. This story came from Sherman himself. For those who think that this articulate young man via Compton and Stanford is a thug, think again. Years ago Manning walked off the field without shaking hands. He learned a lesson. So did Sherman. They will never approach things the same, but both are of high character. Manning has taught a lesson he perhaps never intended.
- To everyone who cares to listen. This is what many of my posts during the Super Bowl were about. How the Mental Game effects outcomes. As you will see Richard Sherman talks about this being a chess match and not checkers. Checkers are who is faster, who is more physical. Chess is can you out think your opponent, can you play the entire board as one not as individuals. Are you prepared to the extent that you can play with confidence, calmness and conviction the entire game. http://dailym.ai/1jc023k The more we read, the more we learn about how these two teams prepared mentally for the game.
- OK< I’m done with the Super Bowl talk. It’s been fun. A lot of interaction with people. Obviously, my addenda is to promote mental training. I really do feel that instead of the focusing on how physical or how fast the Seahawks were in the game, the focus is on how mentally prepared they were vs the Broncos. Add to this that Seattle has been working on Mental Training for at least the last two years weekly, is important. This team was built on the ideas of cooperation and competition. It shows the importance of emotional intelligence. It is the mental game. OK> I’m out.
The Final Frontier: Mental Training
I was looking through some old pictures and articles from over twenty-five years ago. I don’t have a lot of the old things due in part to a burst pipe in the basement, but I have a few things. I pulled out this old and not very well written article I did for some magazine. It was called “The Final Frontier Mental Training”. I had written it because I thought sport psychology and mental training were finally becoming “NORMAL” for all athletes. I had been working with a number of athletes preparing them for everything from World Championships and High School. I was seeing 10-15 athletes a week. Life was starting to be good not only for the athletes as their success was almost always improved but for me as well. This was pre-internet days. Social media was word of mouth. Athletes and their coaches were starting to reach out. I assumed mental training was now finally in the mainstream. I used the Final Frontier because of Star Trek. I in fact went looking for the old article because of the new Star Trek movie release and it hit a nerve with me. The Final Frontier. My meaning then was two-fold. We were exploring how to get the most out of an athlete. New techniques and ways of teaching mental skills The second was we were being accepted in mainstream coaching. Sport Psychology Consultants were being hired in pro sports.
25 plus years ago I did believe I was on the cutting edge of sport psychology. I was one of those applied people. Working in the field with athletes rather than a researcher. My interests were in helping athletes run faster, jump higher etc. We were helping athletes at all levels. We were mainstream. Move ahead 25 years.
I’m still explaining what I do to athletes, parents, coaches and people I meet on the street. I was on the phone yesterday with an internet consultant from GoDaddy. He was helping me with a technical issue with my website. When he wondered what it was I did, I thought here’s a geek, a non sports guy. So I explained. Turned out he was a geek that played college DI basketball at a pretty big University. He had no idea about mental training. Never really used visualization or imagery. Had issues with being able to focus and relax. At 6’8″ he might have been able to continue to play. He decided he just wasn’t good enough so he gave up something he loved as a sophomore in college. He has not played ball in seven years. Not even for fun. Such a waste. maybe he will get a pair of shoes and wonder over to the gym now. I hope so.
Performance is mental
I’m fond of misquoting Yogi Berra the Hall of Fame Baseball player and coach. 80 percent of all performance is mental and the other 50 percent is physical. Then why are we still at the edge of the Final Frontier. Why are we not mainstream. I train a football player preparing for his Pro Day. His time to be seen by NFL scouts so he might be drafted. (He understood the importance of mental training and sought me out) He is working with a strength and conditioning coach. He is working with his position coach. He is getting nutritional advice. An he is working on his mental game. That alone makes him unusual. You see while everyone says it is the biggest part of performance, few actually practice what they admit to.
When I am speaking I often ask for a show of hands and ask “What was the reason for your poorest performances. Virtually everyone says the other team or opposition was better physically, technically and strategically says everyone, like NEVER!. It is always some form of I wasn’t mentally there. I couldn’t concentrate I was stressed out. It it so rare that I hear they were just a better team. Do you think that the San Francisco 49ers are saying that the Baltimore Ravens are a better team? (Now John Harbaugh is likely still blaming the refs) but the players will point to a mental let own somewhere. It is as I said the difference maker.
Still on the Edge
Yet here we are still on the edge of the Final Frontier. Pro teams, college teams all have full time strength and conditioning coaches. Some will have a part time Sport Psychology Consultant. An outsider not integrated with the team. Helpful, but not there yet. Individual athletes are the same. I had a conversation today with someone who wants mental training for his team and his own kids. I know he has the money, but a new pair of cleats or a technical camp is a higher priority.
If mental training is your lowest priority then take it off your list. If you are going to fail then it is not because of anxiety, stress, focus, negative thoughts, motivation, fear, discipline, mental toughness, anger, emotions, self-confidence or even team cohesion. You just are not good enough. You are physically inferior to everyone you have ever lost a contest to. The player that beat you last week that you have never lost to before, just got better than you. You might as well either hit the gym or give up because there is little you can do. What’s that? Practicing harder seems to hurt your performance. You can’t seem to find the discipline to stay on track with your training. Don’t worry it is genetic. Nothing you can do about it.
The water in the pool is just fine
OK sarcasm rant is over. Yes I do think Mental Training is the Final Frontier. I know that mental training will help you perform at a higher level. It’s just a mater of are you going to do the work. You are out there working your butt off, lets exercise the mind as well. It will make a difference. Jump on in the waters fine.
Thoughts from the Darkness of Super Bowl 47
Thoughts on what mental lessons did we learn from Super Bowl 47
I would be remiss if I if I didn’t follow last weeks post with some thoughts and observations from Super Bowl 47.
With all the hype one team came out ready to play. You are a team or individual athlete and you have two weeks to prepare for the biggest game of your career and you come out flat. Was it the distractions of the week or just that the other team was better prepared mentally. On paper both teams have great defenses and good offenses. Half time score was 21-6 at half. 11 second into the 2nd half the score was 28-6.
And then the lights went out. We can insert 49ers, gambling, CBS, etc. jokes here about who pulled the plug.
Needless to say a weird thing happened on the way to a beat down by the older brother to his younger sibling. The lights went out in Georgia (er the Super Dome) causing a 35 minute delay. The Ravens had all of the momentum. They were in cruse control. And then the darkness. All of a sudden things changed. The commentary started in about how this may have saved San Francisco. Now they have time to regroup. No team has comeback from more than a 10 point deficit, but now maybe this is a sign. Certainly the coaching staff for the 49ers are telling their players that they can use this to their advantage. This will be the shift in momentum they need. After all its 3rd down and 13 for a first down, but the Ravens won’t be able to stop them now. On the other side, while the Ravens are thinking they still have this game in the bag time is not on their side. They are an older team and it takes time to physically get going after an hour of sitting around. Half time is over twice as long and a normal game. So they cooled down, got ready again and cooled again. Tough for any athlete. They too likely started to wonder if this meant things were not to be.
The brothers who are always interesting to watch were an interesting study. If you asked me who would be the most irrational about something during the game I would have said it would be 49er head coach Jim. He is not known in the media as Mr Congeniality. He made up for it later, but I’ll save that. Brother John can have his moments, but is perceived differently. During the Darkness, as I will refer to it, the camera caught John going off on the referees and NFL official over something. He looked as if he were losing it. He had been told they could not use headsets because the 49ers side were down. The Ravens send in plays from the coaches box so that would put them at a disadvantage. They were going to take an extra 15 minutes to allow the coaches to come down. I think it was also the delay and could he get his team back where he needed them mentally and physically after the lay off.
San Francisco takes control
Just like the movie script that includes a conspiracy theory on who pulled the plug, San Francisco came out of the Darkness on Que and came back and took the lead. The Ravens responded showing that they had not died and pulled ahead. In the end it came down to a goal line stance with SF having the ball in the Red Zone. They needed a touchdown as time was running out. Baltimore dug in and held them figuratively and perhaps actually. A non call on a hold / passing interference on 4th and the trophy, sent Jim into a rage. Not sure he’s stopped complaining yet. The Ravens get the ball on downs. Three runs later and there is still time on the clock. Ravens have to punt or perhaps opt for a safety to take time off the clock and give them room to prevent a blocked kick. Most everyone knew it was what they would do. The interesting thing was that the offense became like the defense. The held and tacked the defense players allowing the punter to take more time off before taking the safety. Holding /tackling the other team was penalty. The refs made no call. Now in truth the it made no difference. It was an anomaly. I remember having the same thing happen to me coaching youth football 36 years ago. I’ve seen some people say it is not within the spirit of the game. That may be but it is within the rules. Call or don’t call the penalty. Either way it was the endgame.
End of an Era
Ray Lewis is retiring. He won’t be gone as I am sure he will be on TV forever. I’m not a big RL fan. He paid (sort of for his crime) but still makes questionable life choices. He’s made some good ones as well and I have friends in the Baltimore area that talk about how much he does for the community. I think that is great. Community starts at home as well and he needs I think take care of his kids and ex girlfriends too. But Ray and Ed (a real good dude) are gone. I’m happy for Baltimore and their fans. There are some good stories, inspiring stories as well. Former All Pro O.J. Brigance being around fighting ALS.
Mental aspects of the Darkness
Mental toughness is about being resilient, about persevering and about persistence.
The biggest things to look at I think are these. Be prepared for competition, mentally, emotionally and physically. (Ravens)
Be prepared for coping when things go terribly wrong like the Darkness (49ers)
Fight back when you lose momentum. (Ravens)
Don’t lose it emotionally (both coaches)
And finally be mentally strong enough to be gracious in both victory and defeat.
What lessons can and should we learn from the two-week build up for the Super Bowl?
I can think of a few Super Bowl lessons and I’m sure others can add some things too. This of course comes up each year at the Super Bowl and for the most part it is the same each year. There are I think some important lessons and choices we can all understand.
Super Bowl Lessons from the build up
- With lots of time on their hands at least one person is going to brag about themselves. This years biggest bragger is Randy Moss.
- Now if you have read some of my posts I encourage athletes to brag in my office. Sometimes it is important to say good things about yourself. We do not however do it in front of millions to draw attention to self. Randy Moss is a great receiver. One of the best. No need to say he is better than Jerry Rice other than to hear his own voice. (more…)