“Process, not outcome.”
A friend of mine, who happens to be a sport psychologist (Dr. Lee Picariello or Mindful Athlete Training), threw that line at me the other day. It nearly knocked me off of my feet! Those three words hit home and rang so incredibly true to me for so many reasons. This little mantra, “process not outcome” is the basis of all the success that a quarterback will achieve but it is very seldom part of most conversations. In my opinion, if we as coaches can make this the sole focus of our athletes, they can and will achieve great success.
I have spent the last several years working with many quarterbacks of various ages from youth through college. My focus has always been on the mechanics of throwing the football; from the feet, to the posture and grip, to the release, and everything in between. I have spent this time trying to instill in my quarterbacks a sense of awareness of their own body in order to complete the task of throwing the ball better, more effectively and more efficiently through the appropriate kinetic chain. I’ve come to believe that the understanding of “why” we do something, tremendously improves the comprehension of the “how” we do something. However, once we put this teaching into practice and go live, it doesn’t always click. Not that the quarterback isn’t trying his absolute best to make it happen, but there is a disconnect somewhere. He might do it right in a controlled setting over and over again, but once we get into a drill, simulation, or live action form and mechanics often times fall apart. Obviously reps are crucial here but more importantly, we need to improve the QUALITY of our reps to change this. We need to draw attention to the “process” of the movement and become hyper sensitive to it.
Through this I have learned that drills that I and so many other coaches out there do, simply distract quarterbacks. They become so locked in on completing the drill, or throwing the best pass they can throw, or getting it done as fast as possible, that in the end the outcome is less than desirable. Why? Simple…the focus is on the outcome. Athletes are extremely task oriented and by nature, people pleasers. I have been racking my brain to try to change this in the way that I train kids or have them go through drills but it continues to be there. Taking my initial goal and putting language to it, crystallizes the message. It’s not about the “accurate” throw, it’s about the tight mechanics. It’s not about getting the ball out as quickly as possible, it’s about moving with controlled urgency. So taking quarterbacks through drills or carefully planned simulations is designed to build awareness and literally feel through the task. We need to take kids through drills with the purpose of executing as well as we possibly can rather than the completion of it. We must shift our mindset to live in the now and be in charge of that present moment in time. If our quarterbacks can start to do that, they will to develop a greater deal of control over their bodies and minds which then quiets the noise around us. At the end of the day, this ultimately equates to consistency. It’s not accuracy…it’s consistency. Consistency in the mechanics of the throw and control of the body will translate to success of our desired goals.
Now with this message of “PROCESS NOT OUTCOME” I hope that young quarterbacks will gain a better understanding of what it means to be in the moment, ride the wave, and experience the process of the task rather than focus strictly on the outcome. If we can do that, then the outcome will take care of itself!