Are the Seattle Seahawks Outlining the Path to Victory?
Are happy players truly better players? The Seattle Seahawks sure believe so- and they made a good argument in the Super Bowl. Many sports psychology professionals will argue that exercising the mind is just as important as exercising the body, but this belief is not often shared by athletes and/or sports organizations. Most NFL organizations use a remedial approach when it comes to psychological services as opposed to a preventative one. It is often in the wake of a scandal that a franchise talks about a player seeking psychological services, but why is it that teams wait until after a situation is scribbled over every major media outline headline before taking action? It can’t be a matter of cost when teams are willing to spend millions on a player projected to be the next “big thing” in the NFL. So is it the stigma that is often associated with psychological services?
The Seahawks chose to ignore the stigma, and instead set out to prove that their approach could and would produce success. The leader of the team, Russell Wilson, has been vocal about his experiences with the sports psychology company that has teamed up with the NFL franchise, and as a result has become known for his use of mental toughness training. His stats speak volumes for the effectiveness of the techniques he has been utilizing. During his “first year in the NFL, Wilson led the Seahawks to the playoffs; one of only 6 rookie QBs in NFL game history to win a playoff game. He finished the regular season ranked #4 in NFL passer rating and tied Peyton Manning’s record for most touchdowns scored by a rookie.” Hopefully, his word and athletic performance will break down barriers for other players and franchises.
By hiring part-time or full-time sports psychologists, teams can not only work to prevent problems for individual players and the team as a whole, but can also go a long way in contributing to the overall success of a team. So the question becomes: how many teams will be willing to follow in the Seahawks footsteps and implement similar sports psychology programs in their organizations?