From the Whistle to the Snap

Providing the Mental Edge, Part VII


May, 2019

This part seven of Providing the Mental Edge series is where we begin bringing it all together. From the whistle to the snap is what it’s all about and is why we learn the skill of thinking right. All the focus skills are applied in this time frame – from the whistle to the snap.

We use this time from the whistle to the snap to focus and re-focus; de-activate and re-activate; take control, come down, and get back in our zone. This is also where the distractions are the most prevalent, all the stuff that doesn’t matter rears its head – the previous play, the environment, the crowd, etc.


Consider what happens when the play is blown dead: we evaluate what happened, if it was a great play, a disaster play, a first down, loss of yardage, or a penalty; we also evaluate our performance on that play. During this time we should be considering our thoughts and emotions, and even more importantly we need to know what our thoughts and emotions SHOULD be during that time.

From the whistle to the snap is when we can let go of the bad, learn from it, and park it. Realize even the thrill and celebration of great plays can become bad if it hinders our ability to re-focus on the next play.

The sole task for us to perform during the whistle to the snap period is to move on to the next play. We do this by using our routine we learned the same way every time. Step one is to “park it” by taking a deep cleansing breath, taking control and evaluating what we learned. Step two is to “think right” by affirming yourself, using your positive self-talk (“I am a great player!” “I will deliver right now!”). Step three is the “next play” where we find what matters (What’s the play? What’s your job?). Step four is to “redial” by getting into your zone: See it -> Feel it -> Trust it!! And deliver your best.

To more easily identify the routine:
Step 1: 5-second rule -> PARK IT
Step 2: positive self-talk -> THINK RIGHT
Step 3: find what matters -> NEXT PLAY
Step 4: optimal arousal -> REDIAL

The only way to play a football game is one play at a time, each game is won or lost one play at a time. Use this routine to help deliver your best by focusing on each play as it comes. Use this routine to prepare yourself to deliver your best on every single play.

Many a game is won or lost because of what did or did not happen between the whistle and the snap! Park it -> think right -> next play -> redial. Have the mentality of winning from the whistle to the snap, so you win each play as it comes.

Bringing your best focus is thinking right in sport and it’s your choice!


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