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GUEST EXPERT ARTICLE

Kicking Simplicity with Focus - The Winning Mind
Paul Assad
Article posted on 3/19/2011

KEY CHARACTERISTIC: KICKING SIMPLICITY – THE SINGLE MINDED FOCUS!

“I have no future, I have no past, my main goal is to make the moment last.”

First of all, I’m a believer that great technique can lead to great and greater execution and easier execution which builds both confidence and lessens stress. Having said that, let’s now examine the mental state of great performers. Many of the great achievers seem to have in common Kicking-Simplicity and this is perhaps, the sum of their physical ability of course, advanced technique they can repeat and the ability to FOCUS in a moment. I’m always saying to my clients that we are always “Starting or continuing a Streak”. So it seems that one of the characteristics for any player who wants to be their best is the ability to clear their mind of negative or distracting thoughts and step up with a Single, Positive Purpose. This sole purpose must be based on the ability to have a clear plan to execute as competently as they can committed to this mindset for the duration of the game. To quote Dr. Glenn Albaugh “The perfect swing is the one you trust”.

All the best players I have had the opportunity to work with like Sebastian Janikowski, who’s currently, the All Time Scorer and for the Oakland Raiders, who set a Long Field Goal Record with his 61 yard bomb in 2010, Saints Kicker Garrett Hartley who kicked the game winner in the 2010 NFC Championship and then set an NFL Record with 3 field goals over 40 yards in Super Bowl XLIV, Mason Crosby, who set an NFL 2 season Scoring Record, Rodney Williams who set a 90 yard New York Giants Team Record in his first professional game, Chris Jacke, Arizona Cardinals considered among all-time NFL Kickers and many more of the best in their NFL era have in common the ability to create a singular focus on what they wanted to execute at a precise moment in time.

This is not to say these players like many others haven’t experienced failures and set-backs but again, learned Kicking-Simplicity. The ability to singularly focus, on their game plan execution and pay particular attention to the moment that lay immediately before them.

For most of our great performers, nothing exist in their mind but the ball and their plan to execute getting the ball to their target. Being in the moment – with a sense of personal engagement with the task at hand. This seems to require mental and emotional calmness.

So what creates emotional serenity? What do all of these players possess that amateurs that can’t break that barrier don’t have? The answer may surprise you. Here’s some components to a winning mindset using the acronym FOCUS to assist creating a single-minded focus.

Five Aspects of FOCUS:

F – The Concept of Fun

The first letter in the word FOCUS stands for FUN! If we are to achieve Kicking Simplicity, perhaps, we should reflect back to when we were youngsters, take our mindset back to when we just had the simple freedom of just getting out on the field and kicking it hard to our intended target without swing judgments or trying to be so perfect. It was just about looking at the target then looking at the ball and kicking it hard. After the kick when we walked or ran up to the ball and started the whole process over again keeping the concept simple: “Kick it and go chase it then do it again. Big smiles when he do it well and this is because of why? The answer is….”Genuine Enthusiasm” – you were having fun.

This childlike approach may be the relief because as we aspire to get to the next level we can make this more about work and less about fun. We somehow, must have the ability to balance the fun on the field and have the work ethic habits.

O – The Concept of Optimism

The second letter in FOCUS stands for OPTIMISM. Optimism is about hope, excitement and the anticipation about what is possible. Many tryouts and games are often sabotaged well in advance before they start with worry and self doubt about how they’ll kick and the player becomes paralyzed and locked up from the gloom that that this stress presents. What the best have the ability to do is think about “what can be”. This is the only way to live!

C – The Concept of Commitment

The third level of FOCUS is C for COMMITMENT. Commitment is defined as the ability to commit or to pledge oneself to complete a task. It is also synonymous with persistence and dedication to oneself to do what one starts out to do. All great players that have achieved Kicking-Simplicity in the game commit to their decisions, commit to their swing thoughts and most importantly commit themselves to the kick ball free and know that the ball is going to the target with the inner security of knowing that everything will turn out ok. Most of the time there is a moment in the pre-shot where the player is looking down a line where this commitment to strategy and self is agreed upon and this player gives the permission to “Let it Go”.

U – The Concept of Undivided Attention

W.I.N.: “What’s Important Now”

The fourth letter in FOCUS is U. The U stands for UNDIVIDED ATTENTION to the process. So what is the process? It’s thought of as the ability to focus or adhere to the necessities of this particular attempt. Many players at all levels I am coaching often tell me the biggest challenge is their ability to recall the right swing at that moment and trust or let it go. Often players will start thinking about what an attempt’s outcome means or even trying to make up a failed attempt by having the next be twice as good. These are all distractions from the task at hand and these players are letting their minds drift and wander and need to develop the habit to get back to the moment most important. To execute with Kicking-Simplicity one might consider the advice of Dr. Lou Holtz who defines the term W.I.N.: which is an acronym for “What’s Important Now” leaving the past behind and the future to happen but focusing on what the next attempt will require or mean to the outcome of the game or tryout and execution of the movement. A great quote I heard “I have no future, I have no past, my main goal is to make the moment last.”

S – The Concept of Simplicity

Kicking-Simplicity is consistency and repeatability in movement form.

The fifth and final letter of FOCUS stands for SIMPLICITY. Now, this doesn’t mean you are lacking genius or having a simpleton mindset. It means having keeping things simple or as basic as possible and not letting any situation to overwhelm or upset you. Even one of the greatest thinkers of all time Albert Einstein once said: “If you can’t explain in simply…you don’t understand it well enough!” Keeping things simple means that you understand what you do when you are doing it well and also it means you understand when you are doing it poorly. Kicking-Simplicity is consistency and repeatability in movement form. Keeping things simple or uncomplicated as possible seems to help players not force the situation trying to create a miracle to happen. In it’s simplest form Kicking Simplicity means you have prepared yourself for the present situation and that you will allow yourself to just go and do it! It does not mean the game or skill is easy, but that in keeping things uncomplicated, the ball seems to find it’s way to target a bit easier.

Summary

Creating a single minded focus is paramount to developing Kicking-Simplicity. Knowing the goal is to kick the ball from one spot to another in the most efficient and effective method possible is vital for progress. The concept of FOCUS: Fun, Optimism, Commitment, Undivided Attention and Simplicity work for great players in the NFL and the best rising stars and they can perhaps, greatly help you as well if you can implement the key components to your mental skill set.

Remember, playing is a privilege and to be enjoyed. The more effort you put into your physical, technical and mental skill set the more you’ll enjoy and perhaps, further you’ll go on your journey.

All the Best!

Paul Assad

Pro College Football

See article on Pro College Football now at http://kickinggame.blogspot.com/2010/03/welcome-to-coach-paul-assads-pro.html

With contributions from Dr. Bob Winters The Winning Mind – Focus



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The 'right art' cried the Master, is purposeless, aimless! The more obstinately you try to learn how to shoot the arrow for the sake of hitting the goal, the less you will succeed in the one and the further the other will recede. What stands in your way is that you have much too willful will. You think that what you do not do yourself does not happen.
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Kicking.com: Kicking Simplicity with Focus - The Winning Mind - by Paul Assad