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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

THE MENTAL CREATION OF A GOOD PHYSICAL PRACTICE

The following comes from the book "Practice Perfect" by Doug Lemov, Erica Woolway and Katie Yezzi .  It speaks of a reporter, Barry Svrluga who followed Mike Shanahan of the Washington Redskins around to obverse preparation and practices.  It shows that Coach Shanahan believes in the importance of mental practice as well as physical and utilizes the mental to set up the physical.

As Stephen Covey wrote: "Habit 2 is based on imagination--the ability to envision in your mind what you cannot at present see with your eyes. It is based on the principle that all things are created twice. There is a mental (first) creation, and a physical (second) creation. The physical creation follows the mental, just as a building follows a blueprint. If you don't make a conscious effort to visualize who you are and what you want in life, then you empower other people and circumstances to shape you and your life by default. It's about connecting again with your own uniqueness and then defining the personal, moral, and ethical guidelines within which you can most happily express and fulfill yourself. Begin with the End in Mind means to begin each day, task, or project with a clear vision of your desired direction and destination, and then continue by flexing your proactive muscles to make things happen."

What strides do you take to help your players and staff visualize what you want accomplished? 

Here is what Coach Shanahan does with the mental preparation of a physical practice:

"Wednesday and Thursday practice are preceded by walk-throughs -- rehearsals for what will happen in practice."  The coaches have mapped out a script -- sometimes 40 pages long -- of the players they intend to use.  Then before the practice, they bring the whole team to rehearse the practice they have scripted, walking through to check that everyone knows where he needs to be and when, and to ensure that the plans on paper translate into the practice they are looking for on the field.  Questions that might arise from translating the written script to the playing field are answered; explanations of the next steps or the next moves are made during this time.  The team comes to practice ready to use each moment doing -- improving and inscribing success rather than talking about what they are doing.