Couldn’t think of a better way to kickoff my Sports GETPSYCHEDUP column for Cliff’s website. First I want to thank Cliff for the opportunity to share my knowledge, experience, information, research and ideas in sports psychology.
We share many things in common, good friends, passion for the sport and students of the game, being lefties and sharing our hometown of Boston, Massachusetts.
Some of you know me and some do not but hope to meet many of you through your questions, comments, feedback and any assistance I may be to you and your quest to be a smarter athlete.
NOW TO THE TASK AT HAND. This season, our New England Patriots started out slow. They had many doubters, critiques and bashers. Not many gave them a shot at winning many games, not even contenders for the playoffs or the Superbowl. Those who believed were the players, the coaches, the staff, the trainers, some faithful fans and of course their families. We are, afterall, diehard Boston Fans.
What can you learn from the 2015 Superbowl Champion New England Patriots? A lot and more.
- BELIEF – Each team member was a part of a larger system – however, many of the players were not superstar names, names from top schools, some not even high in the draft (case in point Brady and Butler, the player who intercepted the ball on the 2 yard line with 20 seconds to go).. it never mattered to them who believed in them. All that mattered was that each player believed and as part of a team, that was their philosophy. As long as they had a chance, a shot to show what they could do and each player did just that…they were together as 1. They believed in each other and in the team… especially during the controversial deflate gate … belief and integrity in self and in your team matters most.. end result Patriots are the Superbowl Champs.
- HARD WORK and WORK ETHIC – You hear about the Pats players putting in the work all year round.. they prepared offseason, preseason, during the season and allowed for healing time after the season. Get your strength and conditioning in, do the aerobic drills, get your cardio at peak, be able to outlast any opponent, if you want it, do the work, have a master plan, have your training mapped out – day to day, weekly, monthly, pre-season, during the season, post season. Consult with trainers who know, seek out and gain knowledge, knowledge is power – come out of a training knowing that you gave it our all. Do the work, Do Your Job was the Patriots team cry….DO YOUR JOB.
- FUNDAMENTALS, STROKE MECHANICS, DRILLS – The Patriots talked about the Little Things – they focused on tweaking little things, making minor adjustments is an ongoing process. You know that drilling is something that most players hate to do – they’d rather play, you hear them say, “that’s boring, I can’t concentrate, I don’t like it”… the ones that play the best, the ones that have proper stroke mechanics, effortless movement are the ones that drill and practice, practice and drill. The interception was something that this Butler, the unknown Patriot said they practiced countless times and when he saw the formation, he was ready, confident and prepared… look what happened.
- PLAY EVERY POINT NO MATTER WHAT THE SCORE – Case in point, the last 2 minutes of the Superbowl was amazing. An amazing catch, the odds were in favor of the Gulls, heck, 1st down, 20 seconds left on the clock, 2 yard line… the difference, they didn’t anticipate and the Pats did… result, interception and the rest is history.
- MINDSET AND FOCUS – This part of training is so under-appreciated and seldom is time spent on this aspect of training. Lots of resources out there today – if you want a good book to read, pick up IN PURSUIT OF EXCELLENCE, Terry Orlick… he is a brilliant and wonderful guru in sports psychology. One of my 1st books as a player and sports psychology student.
- RESPECT EVERYONE AND NEVER UNDERESTIMATE YOUR OPPONENT OR YOURSELF – Give respect and be respected. Don’t let anyone take away your pride or your confidence. Please respect those players who are new to the game and please give respect to those Senior and Masters players who continue to play our sport. If it wasn’t for them, we would not be here today. They started playing when there were only trophies or medals. They played for the love of the sport, not for sponsorships, or for money, or for glory, they played for the pure love of the sport. You can learn a lot from them, my suggestion, talk with them, take some time to hear their feedback. Besides, you will be that player someday soon.
Each factor is so important and if you put them all together, you will be closer to the type of player that you strive to be.
Patriots are 2015 Superbowl Champions … no one gave them a shot back in September, except for the Patriots and all us diehard fans.