Planting a seed to boost confidence.
When watching a professional football game at any level, it is perceived as one team pitted against another; one team in a battle against their opponent.
There is an underlying psychology when a team takes the mental approach they are playing their opponent. That immediately gives the opponent credibility as a formidable foe. I have preached often to players that we are not playing them; they are playing us.
By planting that seed I’m trying to give our players a boost of confidence or self-esteem.
I would like to do this especially versus an opponent that were close in talent or even slightly more talented to eliminate any self-doubt. It was also a way to bring the emphasis back to executing our techniques and knowing our assignments. By having few mental errors and taking pride in doing the fundamentals with great technique and detail, it would give us the best chance to win.
When a team emphasizes what an opponent does and how to anticipate their actions, tactics, and strategies, it is easy to lose its own identity of play expectation. When this occurs, the post-game analysis is usually one of missed assignments, poor techniques and poor tackling. The preparation must be a balance of execution and anticipation based off education.
Many fans view football on television rather than in person. Some aspect of the battle is lost because it is difficult at times when watching from the comfort of your home or the local sports bar to grasp the battle that goes on versus the elements. Wind, rain, heat, cold and field conditions are things to which television doesn’t do justice.
We are accustomed to video games and their realistic features so we sometimes forget these are real circumstances the players are dealing with and we are not in the least bit immune to.
Wind is not a factor for defensive players or offensive lineman, but affects quarterbacks and pass catchers as well as kickers, punters, and punt returners. It is much more difficult to throw accurately and to catch when the ball moves like a baseball pitch.
The heat is an element every player on the field must deal with. It can be as much a mental toughness battle as a physical challenge. The heat can be dangerous and all the players are watched closely by trainers and medical personnel.
The cold is just simply uncomfortable and makes the collisions much more painful. The body is just not as supple and loose. Catching a pass can be painful to the hands.
A wet, sloppy or slippery field is extremely frustrating for the defense. Defensive players must react and find themselves much slower to hold their assignment. The advantage of a great take off on pass downs is negated.
The elements are a real factor in a game outcome that is lost in the broadcast and can only be fully appreciated if you are out there in the elements as well. Preparing for these unknown external forces is part of the mental preparation required in getting players ready to play.