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MESSAGE #1653 ICING THE KICKER

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Today’s message is especially dedicated to the great Stan Ho in Austin, Texas.

This morning, I was watching ESPN and to my surprise and enjoyment, they had a segment on “icing the kicker” in football. This strategy is used by teams to try to get in the head of the kicker right before they go for an important field goal. Oftentimes they do miss and there are even statistics that show it. During the segment, they were discussing what to do when you are iced, e.g. not thinking about your technique, keeping your mind focused, singing a song in your head, etc.

Well, here’s the rub…

It is impossible for the “icing the kicker” strategy to work on a kicker.

Why?

Because nothing outside of you can affect you…only your THINKING can do that.

“It’s not what’s happening to you. It’s not what’s happening around you. What really matters is what’s happening INSIDE you.”

The ACT of “icing the kicker” in and of itself is neutral. If it truly had the power to affect a kicker’s performance, it would work every time, but it doesn’t.

Take a close look at these two scenarios:

Scenario #1
A player is ready to kick and the other team calls a time out. The kicker thinks, “Ugh, how annoying. Now I have to wait. This is a really important kick, I have to make it. Don’t think about missing. Just stay positive. Sing a song to yourself. You are great.” As the kicker is waiting, he begins to think more and more and before he knows it, his mind is filled with thoughts arriving at light speed. He begins to feel tight and his confidence disappears.

The result: A missed kick

Scenario #2
A player is ready to kick and the other team calls a time out. The kicker thinks, “Ugh, how annoying.” But this player does not take the thought seriously and just lets it pass. He just waits and does whatever he feels like doing. Other thoughts pop up in his head but they just come and go. Because of this, his mind stays clear and he naturally stays loose, confident and focused.

The result: A successful kick

If you look at the two scenarios, the strategy by the other team is the same, but the reaction is different. There is nothing wrong with thinking “Ugh, how annoying” if you just dismiss it. On the other hand, if you stay with that thought or think it is true, you will feed it and begin a downward spiral. You will start to FEEL annoyed and then more thinking will occur and further cloud your mind and tighten your body.

Everyone has negative thoughts, including the greatest athletes in the world. The difference is these peak performers don’t make a big deal of their thoughts. Everyone else thinks they need to “do something” about those thoughts.

Remember this: you can’t control what thoughts come into your head, but it is always your choice whether you reinforce them or just let them pass.

You may not have the physical ability of a pro athlete, but you can have the same mindset as one. The truth is, you already do.

For a free 15-minute mental game consultation, email: ed@edtseng.com

MESSAGE #1051 WHAT YOU CAN LEARN FROM A KID

Last night was the major league debut of baseball phenom, Stephen Strasburg, age 21.

He is a right-handed pitcher for the Washington Nationals, who selected him with the first pick in the 2009 Major League Baseball Draft. Strasburg signed for a record $15.1 million contract on August 17, 2009. ESPN called him the “most-hyped pick in draft history” and Sports Illustrated called him the “most hyped and closely watched pitching prospect in the history of baseball.”

Now, there are many top prospects, but many of them never make it.

I think, if Strasburg stays healthy, he will make it.

Why? Because he works hard. And he’s humble. He goes all-out in every start.

So what did Strasburg do last night in his major league debut?

He struck out 14 Pittsburgh Pirates (a Nationals single-game record) over seven innings in a 5-2 victory. Oh, and his last pitch was faster than his first – 99 miles per hour.

“They didn’t really talk to me about a game plan or how to attack certain hitters,” the 21-year-old Strasburg said. “They just told me to go out there and enjoy it.”

I will be certain to follow this young man’s career over the next few years and I have a good feeling about it.

In his post-game interview he said the 5 most powerful words…

“I definitely think anything’s possible.”

MESSAGE #1044 BOOK REVIEW – HARDCOURT CONFIDENTIAL

I was fortunate enough to get an advance copy of Patrick McEnroe’s new book, “Hardcourt Confidential,” which comes out in stores June 8th.

In this book, McEnroe talks about his twenty years on the pro tour as a player, coach and ESPN commentator.

I loved the stories of Agassi, Connors, Johnny Mac, Sampras, Federer, Nadal and others, especially the mental side of the game. Here is an excerpt from one of Patrick McEnroe’s matches when he was on tour…

Let me go back to 1991, before we leave Australia, to finish the story of my best run in singles at a major event. In the semis, I had Boris Becker by a set and I wrangled my way to a couple of break points early in the second; I could have gone up 4-2 if I converted either of them. But somewhere in there I clearly remember saying to myself, Shit, I could be in the Australian Open finals…

And that’s exactly when the wheels started to fall off — and Becker was too good a player not to jump in and help finish the job.

So folks, mental weakness happens to the pros, too.

Do I recommend this book?

Yes.

In fact, if you are in the Princeton area on June 12 at 3pm, Patrick McEnroe will be doing a book signing at Barnes & Noble MarketFair. See you there.