Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Navy Seals Understand and Use Mental Conditioning and Sports Psychology

Until the 1990s the United States Navy had physically trained the SEALs for mission success and survival, but mental training was only a byproduct of the physical training, an afterthought.  However, since the 1990s the Navy realized that they must be more purposeful in their mental conditioning to ensure greater success. To this end, the SEALs have met with sports psychologists and other experts to determine the most essential elements of mental conditioning and have determined that the following four principles greatly improve the likelihood of mission success and survival:

  • Set manageable goals. There is much danger in setting too many goals or setting unrealistic goals that impede progress or success. Navy SEAL candidates are trained to have laser focus on successfully completing each training drill and to avoid focusing on completing the entire program.

  • Visualize your success. The SEALs are trained to visualize their success even in their darkest hour. Creating the success in your mind first allows you to convince your other faculties that it is not only possible but probable.

  • Focus on positive self-talk. We each have the power to choose the voice to which we listen. He teaches the SEALs that they can talk themselves into victory or defeat by focusing on opportunities and strengths instead of telling themselves how dire a situation is.

  • Manage stress. Stress limits our success and threatens our health. The SEAL commanders understand that it is difficult to convince "tough guys" to meditate so they teach their men to manage stress via 4x4x4 breathing. Quite simply they inhale for four seconds, exhale for four seconds, and repeat for four minutes.

Excerpts from MorganHillTimes.com (November 29, 2010).

For more on mental conditioning and performance psychology, click on The Handbook of Peak Performance.   For additional mental conditioning tools and resources, click on and request access to The Peak Performance eCoach.  

Monday, November 29, 2010

Cam Newton Displays Mental Toughness

"Cameron Newton is physically and mentally as tough as I've ever seen," Auburn coach Gene Chizik said. "Period."
Despite allegations surrounding his eligibility and an NCAA investigation related to alleged irregularity in his recruitment, Auburn
 quarterback Cam Newton led the Tigers to a victory over the Alabama Crimson Tide on Saturday.  

The Crimson Tide already had a 21-0 lead by the time the Tigers got their initial first down in the game.  Ultimately, coming from 24 points down to end Alabama's 20-game win streak in Tuscaloosa,
the #2 national ranked team beat the defending national champions.  

Pressure is nothing new to the Tigers.  Trailing in eight games this season, coming back is no problem for Cam Newton and the 12-0 Tigers.

Also, Newton retained his lead in the USA Today Heisman Trophy poll for the fifth straight week.  He earned 48 points and eight out of a possible 10 first-place votes from those who participated in USA Today’s survey.

Newton finally got Auburn on the board with a 36-yard touchdown pass to Emory Blake, cutting the deficit to 24-7. On the second play of the second half, Newton lofted a 70-yard touchdown pass to Terrell Zachery.  He later scored from the 1-yard line to cut Alabama's lead to 24-21.

After Alabama kicked its second field goal, Newton drove the Tigers for the winning score. He completed a crucial fourth-down pass to Darvin Adams along the sideline to keep the possession alive. Finally, he rolled to his right and threw back across the field to a wide-open Philip Lutzenkirchen for a 7-yard TD with 11:55 remaining in the game.

Newton finished the game 13-of-20 passing for 216 yards and three TDs; 22 rushes for 39 yards and one TD in 28-27 win over Alabama.  

No player has meant more to his team's success than Newton, who has kept the Tigers unbeaten throwing for 2,254 with only 6 interceptions and rushing for another 1,336 yards while accounting for an incredible 40 touchdowns. He’s the leading rusher in the SEC and has the second-best quarterback rating in the country next to Kellen Moore of Boise State.

In four games vs. Top 25 teams, Newton has been responsible for nearly 70 percent of the Tigers' total yards and has thrown for five TDs and run for nine more. This week he gets a second crack at South Carolina in the SEC Championship Game against whom he amassed 334 yards and five TDs on Sept. 25.

The 250-pound Newton was at his best when the Tigers defeated South Carolina, 35-27, as three-point home favorites. Newton rushed for 176 yards and three touchdowns, while also passing for two more additional touchdowns.   In a recent game against the University of Georgia, Newton scored four total touchdowns – two passing and two rushing – in a 49-31 victory.. 

“That type of focus will go a long way in convincing NFL scouts that he ... has the mental toughness to thrive under the microscope.” 
--CBS Sports’ Rob Rang praising Newton’s ability to overcome the off-field scrutiny that has surrounded him in recent weeks, following Newton’s performance against Georgia.

A win by the Tigers against South Carolina would surely put them in the national championship game, possibly against the University of Oregon (who have one more game against Oregon State).

Excerpts from www.thecelebritycafe.com (November 17, 2010), www.nbcsports.com (November 27, 2010), www.sportsillustrated.cnn.com (November 29, 2010), www.donbest.com (November 29, 2010).

For more on performance psychology and the Peak Performance System, click on The Handbook of Peak Performance and, the smartphone app, Mindfuel.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Danilo Gallinari of the New York Knicks Avoids Superstar Expectations and Just Wants to Win

“I know you expect a lot from me, and people expect a lot from me,” Gallinari said late Wednesday night, “but I’m not a superstar, I’m not an All-Star, I’m not LeBron, I’m not those great players. I’m an important player of the Knicks. And that’s what I’m trying to do, to help the team every time. Sometimes, can be these type of games, sometimes not. But as long as we win, it’s all good.
--Danilo Gallinari, The NBA's New York Knicks' emerging star, discussing his emergence as a key player.

Gallinari just posted consecutive 20-point games for the first time this season — 21 in Denver and a season-high 27 in Sacramento — and was simply asked if he needed a performance like this for his confidence.  Danilo showed some flashes of brilliance last season including a 28-point performance, also against Denver and Carmelo Anthony.

This season, Gallinari also put up 24 points on 7-for-11 shooting from the floor (including 4-for-4 on 3s) against the Chicago Bulls on November 4.    

“He’s very secure in who he is and he’s very confident,” his coach, Mike D’Antoni said. “He can tell you one thing, but he may think another. But I think he knows he has a lot of work to do to get where those guys are. He’s not up there. I don’t think that says he can’t get there, he’s just not them yet."

D'Antoni once called Gallinari the best shooter he had ever seen.  But, Gallinari does not focus on stardom.  

“It’s not my goal,” he said. “You know me, so I never say that. It’s not in my mind. It’s not in my mind. My mind is to win with this franchise. I’ve been selected and picked by this franchise three years ago. I want to stay here. I want to win with this franchise. That’s all that is in my mind. I’ve been working with the coaches; the coaches know what I can do and I’m just trying to be the best player I can.

What about you?  Is your mindset to be the star or to help your team be successful?  

Excerpts from the New York Times (November 16 & 19, 2010) and ESPN.com (November 5, 2010).

For more on mental conditioning, click on The Handbook of Peak Performance.  

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Inside the Mind of a New NFL Coach: Jason Garrett, Dallas Cowboys

"Be great today.  That's what it's about.  You have to be good each and every day in everything that you do, and if you continue to do that, the right habits will develop and hopefully the results will come.
"We don't talk a lot about winning games. We talk about doing things the right way and then being prepared to play the best you can play."
--Jason Garrett.  

Garrett, in his first game as the Dallas Cowboys' head coach, led his team to a 33-20 upset victory over the favored New York Giants.  It was their first win since late September.  The Cowboys entered the game with a 1-7 record, after beginning the season as a Super Bowl favorite.    

Though he encouraged his players to enjoy the win, Garrett was already thinking about the next opponent:  the Detroit Lions.  

"It's hard not to get your mind going on the next one," he said. "You're challenged so much in this league. Detroit is going to be a great challenge for us on Sunday afternoon."

Garrett wants the team prepared as much as possible, because he's a firm believer that each work day incrementally determines the outcome on Sunday.

The Cowboys played inspired, energetic football in beating the NFC East-leading Giants.

"Like Jason said, and it's kind of boring, but you're trying to put good days upon good days," backup quarterback Jon Kitna said. "And hopefully it gives you a chance to win on Sunday and then you perform well on Sunday."  

Kitna was forced into a starting role since a shoulder injury sidelined starter Tony Romo.   Kitna, in his third start, threw for 327 yards off of 13-of-22 passing with three touchdowns. He had six completions of at least 25 yards, including four plays that went for over 40 yards each.

"You have to constantly prove to the players that what you're telling them is the right stuff," Garrett said. "I think a big part of that is having the right kinds of players, players who are receptive to coaching. We have the right coaches here, we have the right kind of players here."

"Certainly winning the ballgame on Sunday is an important part of credibility for coaches," Garrett said. "And that's whether you're a new coach or if you've been coaching a team for a long time. … The business is a bottom line business. You have to win games. You have to perform on Sundays. But I think the best way to go about doing that is taking care of the process along the way. So I think our players understand that."

  • One day at a time, one game at a time
  • Establish credibility
  • Foster positive work habits
  • Have players with receptivity to coaching 
  • Build on success
  • Focus on results  

What is your mindset?  Are your teammates responding?   

Excerpts from www.dallascowboys.com (November 15 &16, 2010) 

For more on the Dallas Cowboys franchise, click on Dallas Cowboys:  Peak Performance Case Study.  

Monday, November 15, 2010

The New England Patriots Get Back on Track

"I thought all of the guys played really hard, stayed focused, and it was an exciting win for all of us, everybody in this locker room. We haven’t been this happy in a long time. We're pretty good when we play and we execute the right way, do the right thing, and when everyone is doing their job."

--New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who completed 30 of 43 passes for 350 yards and had four total touchdownsa in a surprisingly easy 39-26 victory against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.

The Patriots (7-2) couldn’t wait to get back onto the field to redeem themselves and remove the memories of an upset lost to the Cleveland Browns the previous Sunday.

"We just wanted this game to hurry up and get here," Patriots defensive lineman Vince Wilfork said. "But at the same time, we had to take care of what we needed to take care of in practice, preparation, game planning and all that stuff. I think everybody did a good job of coming to work."

Does your team come back from adversity with a renewed focus and a sense of urgency and preparation? Does failure motivate or hinder your team?

Excerpts from http://www.nesn.com (November 15, 2010).

For more on the New England Patriots franchise, click on The New England Patriots: Peak Performance Case Study.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Performance Vertical Consulting: Our new video

Enjoy the new marketing video from Performance Vertical Consulting produced by Animoto.com.

Performance Vertical Consulting is a performance and talent acquisition consulting firm located in Atlanta, Georgia.  We install Peak Performance Systems in individuals, teams, and organizations.  We hope you enjoy the video and continue to come to our blog.

All the best, from Performance Vertical Consulting.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

NFL Teams: Pass on Randy Moss

Talent, yes; great individual performer, yes; great individual numbers? Yes, but dwindling. Do I like to watch him? Yes, but like a train wreck.


It's simple. Randy Moss has great talent, but has never been a winner. He is disruptive, but, more importantly, no team that has had him has been better overall because of him. Even the New England Patriots, as great as they have been, have not been back to the Super Bowl since Randy Moss has been on the team.

If you want headlines and, perhaps, an offensive (no pun intended) jolt, take Randy Moss. If you want to win, pass him by.