Confidence. Patience. Effort. --- The three words I would always tell myself before stepping on any football field. Saying those words served as a reminder of the type of mindset I needed to be ready to compete. It didn’t matter if I was playing in front of 90,000 people in the infamous Rose Bowl stadium, or a private practice with teammates and coaches. Those three words always calm my nerves.
I adopted this ritual from watching a “Mic’d up” clip of current Detroit Lions cornerback Desmond Truffant saying those exact words to himself. To me, it was perfect because in sports we often try to focus and worry about what we can always control. In nearly all sports, when one plays with confidence, great patience, and high effort, they are unstoppable. There is no other position in football that tests your confidence and requires this mindset with these qualities like a defensive back. Allow me to explain.
There’s a famous saying that “all defensive backs need to possess short-term memory.” Not the short-term memory that causes you to forget the play called in the huddle. This saying refers to the short-term memory that allows you to move on to the next play, with a clear mind and extreme confidence. In other words, don’t dwell on the bad plays and don’t get too attached to the good plays. Each play is a new opportunity to make a play. Easier said than done, but it is a necessity.
If you are looking for a great example of short-term memory and extreme confidence, I encourage you to rewatch the 2015 New York Giants vs New England Patriots highlights. While watching the highlights, key in on the matchup with Odell Beckham vs Malcolm Butler. To summarize, early in the game Odell beats Malcolm Butler for an 87-yard touchdown. Anyone who has played defensive back (DB), knows they are going to get beat, every once in a while...but it is not about getting beat. It’s more about whether you have the confidence and how you respond to getting beat. Malcolm Butler continued to cover Odell for the remainder of the game, holding him to only 2 catches on 9 catches.
“Confidence is a very fragile thing. Giving up a big play can ruin a DB’s confidence.
The best DBs exhibit strong confidence, especially after giving up big plays.” -Alameen Murphy
For DB, “Patience is key.” From a technical standpoint, defensive backs are always taught patience. Exercise patience in your back pedal. Exercise patience when you are at the line in press coverage. An impatient defensive back will open and fall for the double move or miss on a jam in press coverage.
From an in-game standpoint.
We always want to chase the perfect play such as the interception, the big hit, or the pass breakup. Sometimes we chase these plays to our detriment.
“Effort is between you and you,” quoted by Ray Lewis, says the effort we always give is in our control. A DB that displays poor effort is always a liability to his defense. You can never afford to get lazy, nor can you give anything less than maximum effort. We are often the last line of defense. Taking one play off can easily result in a touchdown for the offense. I have witnessed many times a defensive back making a game saving tackle, goal-line stop, incredible interception, or forced fumble due to fanatical effort.
Confidence, patience, and effort are essential for any successful defensive back. They are built on preparation and practice. Developing this type of triple mindset requires a commitment of work before, during, and after the football season ends. Off-season training, exercising, and building both mentally and physically affords you the opportunity to improve, enhance, get better, and to PERFECT your PERFORMANCE and game.
You can’t exhibit the confidence and patience needed to play defensive back if you haven’t put in the work needed to be successful in the offseason. Make sure you are putting in the work this off-season to play with confidence, great patience, and fanatical effort.
Train with Perfect Performance this winter.
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Odell Beckham Jr. vs. Malcolm Butler: Battle of the Rising Stars! | Patriots vs. Giants | NFL: