Sports Psychology for Football

Sports Psychology for Football Players and Coaches

79th Heisman Winner Jameis Winston Epitomizes Mental Toughness

“I believe you can do anything you put your mind to, especially with my hard work and determination. I can do anything that I want to do.”
Jameis Winston

jameis-winston-heisman-mentFlorida State freshman quarterback Jameis Winston received the coveted Heisman trophy for his stellar performance on the football field in 2013. Winston won by a landslide over Alabama’s AJ McCarron, Northern Illinois’s Jordan Lynch, Boston College’s Andre Williams, Texas A & M quarterback Johnny Manziel, and Tre Mason from Auburn.

This is the second consecutive year that a freshman quarterback won the highly prized award following Manziel’s breakthrough performance in 2012. Winston displayed tremendous mental toughness and football confidence throughout the season as he lead the Seminoles through an undefeated regular season, a number one ranking in the country, and a chance to play for the national championship in January.

Winston’s success is no surprise since he was considered the number one high school recruit of 2012. What is surprising is the fact he is playing both football and baseball at Florida State, with no plans of dropping either. Football coach Jimbo Fisher and baseball coach Mike Martin cooperatively support Winston’s ambition to play both sports professionally in the future.

The mental toughness required to play two sports at an elite level of performance is phenomenal, but Winston seems ready for the challenge. Coach Fisher offered his assessment of Winston’s potential when he said, “I honestly thought I would never in my lifetime have a guy come through our program that could match Deion Sanders.” Even legendary Seminole coach Bobby Bowden is impressed, “This young man is as good as anybody we’ve ever had.”

Winston believes the mental focus required for baseball strengthens his ability to maintain football confidence and a positive mindset on the football field. Baseball is the best sport for a quarterback to play,” he said, “because baseball is a game of failure. Playing quarterback you don’t want to fail, but you’ve got to have that baseball mentality. Next time, I can do it — the next play.”

Sports psychologists constantly push athletes to develop a routine when facing adversity to minimize negative thoughts and weakened thought processes. Strong mental toughness allows an athlete to maintain their game plan and positive mindset no matter the circumstances. Winston also withstood major allegations in his personal life (although never charged with any crime), but never did his mental focus waver on the football field as he recorded 3,825 passing yards and thirty eight passing touchdowns for the Seminoles. Winston showed great leadership and football confidence every week as Florida State continued to climb in the polls while improving every single week.

First on Jameis Winston’s schedule as the Heisman winner is leading his team to a national championship playing in the Rose Bowl this January. There won’t be much time for relaxation or celebration as his spring includes playing outfielder and relief pitcher for the Seminole baseball team. After that? Many people question his longevity at Florida State when the big money of both the NFL and MLB come calling. However Winston intends to graduate from FSU first before pursuing his dream in professional sports.

Education’s always first thing, Winston said. “So when people keep asking, ‘Jameis, are you leaving next year?’ and all this stuff, I say, ‘I need my education.’ That’s what it’s really about.” Jameis Winston exemplifies the meaning of mental toughness, and will be exciting to watch as he continues his athletic career.

Updated: December 24, 2013 — 12:52 pm

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