Feb
21

Championships Are Won During the Offseason—Maintaining Mental Focus

So, if I give any credit, besides giving all credit to God, for being totally healthy, it’s just my workout and how much torture I put my body through in the offseason.
Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis

ravens-football-mental-tougOnce a season ends in football, coaches and players alike strongly influence next year’s success based on their productivity during the offseason. Football mental toughness is not an aspect of the game that is easily turned on during a game, or off during the offseason. The mental game of football, as well as strength and conditioning are greatly impacted by the intensity of design of workouts during the offseason. Understanding the psychology for football both during the regular season, playoffs, or offseason greatly affects a player’s ability to reach their peak physical performance.

Developing a resilient football confidence requires a shift in the mentality of the player that there is ever a time to rest. Offseason should be viewed as a time to strengthen physical weaknesses, and build football mental toughness. However, workouts should vary, and training regimens should not look the same as during a regular season. Altering workouts allows for the different core muscles groups to strengthen while combating boredom from repetitive exercises a drills. Athletes find strength training in swimming, bicycling, tennis, or any other cardio workout that appears different than standard agility drills and weight lifting. Spontaneity motivates an athlete to try something new, fortifying mental clarity and the mind’s ability to focus. Certainly, weight training and speed exercises are critical to becoming a stronger and faster athlete, but incorporating diversity in the workout routine develops different muscle groups developing an overall tougher athlete.

The offseason in football in a time to improve overall mental focus and strengthen the football mind for the game. This is a great time to incorporate goals into every workout session. What do you wish to accomplish? Envision success in every minute of every workout to achieve greater results. This is NOT a time for repetitive mundane activities with the thought process residing in neutral. Sports psychologists in football and Mental Game Coaches push the idea that every minute of physical activity is an opportunity for mental exercise as well. The successful athlete incorporates mental exercises in their workouts whether it is during a regular season or offseason. Choose a goal to achieve, and allow your minds thoughts to continually repeat the goal throughout the workout. Imagine reactions on the field; focus on the thoughts of making the tackle or catching the pass. Keep the mind engaged at all times. Every moment of physical activity is an opportunity for developing mental toughness as well.

Finally, it is essential that for an athlete to make maximum gains both physically and mentally, they must view the offseason workouts as just as critical as pregame workouts during the regular season. When an athlete approaches a training regimen in the offseason with a thirsty motivation for improvement they achieve far greater success than the athlete who simply views the offseason as something to weather before the next season starts. Whether high school, collegiate, or professional level, all football players maintain a possibility for great physical and mental growth during the offseason if pursued correctly. The athlete who utilizes the offseason by incorporating varied strengthening and cardiovascular exercises with mental goals and focus applications greatly improves their peak performance in the following season.

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