Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Interview with LA Times on Mistakes in Sunday's NFL Playoffs

On Monday I was interviewed by David Wharton, a sports writer for the LA Times. We talked about the missed field goal by Billy Cundiff of the Baltimore Ravens and his failure to send the game against New England into overtime, and Kyle Williams whose muffed punt in the fourth quarter allowed the New York Giants the field position they desperately needed to score points and punt return fumble in overtime set up the game-winning field goal.

LA Times article 

Wharton focused the article on what players should do after the blunder which is an important topic. At the same time players need to bounce back immediately whether it is for the next play or Billy Cundiff's case when he is inevitably surrounded by the media. You want to respond positively and productively as soon as possible. Getting down will only add to your bad situation.

Here are a few lines from the LA Times article which I think are a good summary of what players on the team, not just the player that made the mistake, should do to bounce back.

Working from Michigan State's Institute for the Study of Youth Sports, Lauer trains athletes to be disciplined in executing a step-by-step mental procedure almost like a basketball player's bouncing the ball before a free throw.

They should attempt to control their breathing and heart rate in stressful situations. Any negative thoughts — especially memories of past disappointments — should be replaced by visualizing a successful outcome.

"Does it take a lot of mental discipline? Yes," Lauer said. "Do you need to persuade yourself? Yes."
The most effective approach to handling pressure and avoiding these big mistakes is to prepare mentally for these situations. This didn't come out in the LA Times article in depth, but we discussed the importance of learning mental skills in the pre season and preparing for those big moments.

The article was well written by Wharton and I appreciate the opportunity for sure!