Make ’em Say Ouch!

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Many people spend a lot of time talking about the “X’s” and “O’s” and details of the plays in football. But there is something that is many times overlooked, but actually will determine who wins and loses in most football games. It is mental toughness.

Coach Paterno would tell us that in a close football game, where both teams are evenly matched, the team that makes the other team say “ouch” is the team that will win the game. Having the mind set that I will take your best shoot and get up anyway. You can score on me, but I’m coming right back and answering your score. You can hit me in the mouth on one play, but you better enjoy the feeling, because I am coming back on the next one. This is the mind set of a mentally tough team.

It’s sad to say that it is rare to see tough players these days, let alone tough teams. I’m talking about people who have a focus to not stop or let up until they have achieved their goals as a team. During our undefeated season in 1994, we would make a decision as an offense to put the game out of reach by halftime. That did not mean that it always happened. But it did mean that we were committed to more than justufabetเว็บไหนดีสุด winning, but rather to dominate our opponents. If the other team felt like they could have won the game, then we did not make them say ouch. To dominate in football is to make the other team want to get off the field, and start looking at the clock hoping for it to hurry to 0:00.

Coach Paterno would tell us to line up, execute our play, hit the other team, knock them down, help them up, and then knock them down again! Being mentally tough means your team will work to make the other team not want to get up after the play. I’m not talking about playing dirty, or outside of the rules of the game. I am talking about being physical and being willing to hit, and take a hit.

I remember during a 2 minute drill against Indiana, I caught a post over the middle to get us in field goal range. The safety drilled my in my back as I went up to catch the ball. Immediately I knew I was hurt. I could feel my ribs crush from the hit. But I was not going to give the other team the satisfaction of knowing that they hurt me. I got up as quickly as I could, and jogged to the sideline as the field goal team came on to the field. As soon as I was out of the view of a camera on the sideline, I screamed in pain! I ended up having to get a pain shot at half time in order to finish the game.