The Mental Game of Football


Since my son is playing baseball this year, I visited John Reed’s site the other day to read a few of his baseball articles and order his baseball book.  Coach Reed’s football books and articles are great, and I wanted to see what he had to say about baseball.   I read through his baseball articles and Coach Reed recommended a book by H. A. Dorfman, The Mental Game of Baseball.  I picked up Dorfman’s book last night and read all 300 pages in one sitting.  It was that good.  The book is about baseball but the sports psychology in the book can be used for any sport.  There are also many football examples in the book too.  This is a must read for any youth coach.

One of the paragraphs I keep coming back to is…  “The body tends to do what it hears most clearly; the mind tells the body what it sees most clearly.  So, thinking about what you don’t want to happen greatly increases the chance it WILL happen.”  This happen to my team two years ago.  Before a game I told my team I dreamed we fumbled a ton during the upcoming came and told them do not fumble the ball.  Protect the ball.  We fumbled the ball 5 times during that game.  Because of what I said, I set my players up to fumble. 

 According to the book, a leading sports psychologist believes, “the difference between two (high performance) athletes is 20% physical and 80% mental.”  If this is true, as coaches we need to be teaching our players how to develop their mental tools. 

I hope you enjoy the book.

Play for Fun and Winning is Funner!

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  1. Great point. Focusing on don’t almost ensures that it will happen. It’s funny that keeping the focus on what to do right can transform a player, a team, a workout or a game.

    It always makes me wonder about the effectiveness of yelling or getting angry – too often it’s focusing on the negative “don’t jump offside,” or “don’t fumble.”

  2. I have seen this just in my short time coaching youth football. I have had several head coaches that really focus on the negative and spend a lot of time telling the kids not to make mistakes and grinding on what they can’t do, shouldn’t do, etc. Those teams played really tight – afraid to make a mistake and guess what, they made a lot of mistakes.

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