Managing Your Mental and Physical State
We have all heard professional athletes say performing their skill is 99% mental. While that is obviously an exaggeration, the point is well taken that mental preparation plays a much bigger role in performance than most realize. The ability for specialists to manage their physical and mental state is paramount for success, especially considering long snapping, punting, and placekicking are highly refined technical skills. Always be aware that the mind and body are interconnected and affect each other.
How a specialist represents a situation in their mind will affect the body’s ability to perform the skill. For example, a placekicker who is unhappy about being second string may have a….”Oh, what’s the use in trying. I’ll never be the starter.” mindset. If that’s the case, the body will never perform optimally. It’s a dead end. But. What if that specialist adopted the mindset,….” Take advantage of where you are on the way to where you are going.”? Well, that changes everything. He’s going to look for everything he can do in his current situation to make himself a better placekicker and performance will be enhanced. That’s when good things happen.
Represent whatever the situation may be in a way that gives you the best chance of success. During hot summer training camp practices, visualize how your hard work will pay off during the season. Long snappers could visualize the perfect snap to their punter at the back of the end zone with the game on the line while performing the (somewhat exhausting) ten yard rapid snap drill. Placekickers and punters use the same idea with the beloved “stupid” drills, stretching, plyometrics and everything else they love/hate about their training.
Remember, you are in control of your mindset and through that your physiology. Practice it daily and it will become second nature.