Thursday, November 08, 2012

Mental Conditioning is About Focus, and Freshness


“I think any time you get that break, it can be a good thing if it’s utilized properly. I think there definitely was a sense of relief from all of us – coaches and players – of just not having a game-plan last week, and having the whole mental pressure of coming up with a game-plan, and each day thinking about game-plans and adjustments. … The weight of studying for a final exam, if you will. You’re grinding through a week of preparation and then you go for the final exam. After you’ve had eight of those, it’s nice to have a week where you don’t have to study, you don’t have to game-plan, and you don’t have a final exam. You don’t have all the mental adjustments you have to go through. Now this week, we’re back into that and hopefully we have a little bit of a freshness, or a better approach to it than that after eight weeks of doing it.”

--Bill Belichick, head coach of the New England Patriots, following a mid-season bye week.

Mental conditioning is certainly about focus and intensity, but is it also about staying fresh and combating mental, emotional and physical fatigue. 

Do you take regular, systematic, structured breaks to recharge?  Do you find your thinking more creative, more effective after a break?

Make sure that you plan downtime.  Make sure that you are not just escaping or procrastinating.  Give yourself permission to take a break to recharge the batteries.  Escape and procrastinating is not as satisfying as a structured, planful break to decompress. 

Bill Belichick understands this as well as anyone.  Belichick has taken his team to 5 Super Bowls and won 3 of them. 

Excerpt for ESPNBoston.com (11/6/2012).
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