Clutch field goals are some of the most intense moments in sports. It’s a back-and-forth battle between both teams with the entire game resting on the shoulders of the kicker. As black-and-white as a field goal is, it never ceases to amaze me.
Some of the topics we will cover today are going to be:
- What is a clutch field goal?
- Cluch field goal moments
- How to handle clutch field goals
- Overcome your mind
- You are ready, you are capable
So let’s get into it!
What is a clutch field goal?
In simple terms, a clutch field goal is a moment where the kicker comes into the game in the final minutes in case the deciding points to help their team win the game.
It’s most common in games with great defenses.
While fun to watch, being in that moment and speaking from experience, was one of the best moments of my life so far.
110% of your focus goes to that moment you are in right there on the field.
Everything you’ve ever had happened to you, or whatever you’re thinking about, goes away. It’s one of the only moments that I can think of that I’ve ever really been completely focused on the present moment.
For if I were to focus on anything other than kicking the football to win the game, I may not have actually made it.
Clutch field goals are usually the cherry on top to an amazing game.
Clutch field goal moments
One of the most iconic moments in clutch logo history has to be Adam Vinatieri field goal to win the Super Bowl. This kick ignited 2 Decades of dominance that the Patriots had in the NFL.
Two years later,Vinateri did almost the exact same thing. Only this time, he had missed a kick earlier in that game, and also had a block. So he was most likely dealing with a mental battle.
But with all the clutch kickers, when the game needs you most, you perform at your best.
How to handle clutch field goals
While it may be hard to replicate a clutch field goal scenario, i’ll do my best to give some pointers.
When in that moment of high pressure, your mind can start to do all sorts of things to mess with you.
Your brain can be your worst enemy at times.
That’s why mindset is everything.
Therefore, when you feel your brain starts thinking a thousand thoughts per minute, relax, and take a huge deep breath and just visualize the ball going through the uprights.
If you can visualize it happening, it becomes a lot easier to actually achieve.
Another trick would be to look at the uprights are going to be kicking it and imagine yourself hitting the best of all you’ve ever hit straight down the middle of those uprights.
Again, if you can imagine it, it’s much more likely to actually happen.
Also, when practicing, do everything you can to simulate a game-winning kick. At the end of a majority of my sessions, the last ball I would kick would be a game-winning kick.
I would set the ball up anywhere on the field (especially where I felt I had a weakness) I would then go to the sideline and run out to the spot where my ball was take my steps at a faster pace than normal, constantly focusing on the breath, and kicking the ball through the uprights.
The reason why I go so fast for my game-winning kick it, is if you can put yourself in the hardest conditions possible to make the kick, the real deal will be a lot easier. If you fail to prepare, you are preparing to fail.
From time to time, I would also do some physical exercises like burpees before my final kick as is it difficult to simulate adrenaline rush when you’re kicking on your own. So getting your heart rate up right before you kick the ball is going to be one of your best ways practice kicking under pressure.
Use that stress,and how nervous you are into a strength!
You should feel alive!
Not many people get to experience this feeling in their life.
Channel you being nervous into the extra oomph you need to smash that kick!
Whatever you can do to put yourself in difficult conditions, do it.
Try a couple kicks with the laces facing towards you, the ball tilts going the wrong way, or at an angle on the field which you feel is one of your weak spots.
The most important thing is to get comfortable being uncomfortable.
Overcome your mind
As mentioned earlier, your mind knows you better than anyone and will always know your weaknesses.
The second it gets an opportunity to, it will tell you something that you definitely don’t need to hear.
When I first started kicking in college, brain would ask me questions like “what would happen if you miss this kick right now?” “How would you feel if you missed?” “Would you be embarrassed if you shanked this kick right now?” And many other thoughts. Our brain is always trying to get us to stay in our comfort zone. And when we’re called on to perform, even in a small way, our brain will always try to keep us comfortable.
The best thing I found to do to overcome my mind, was to train harder than any experience I can have in a game.
And to become dedicated to meditation.
Meditation helps you focus on the present in the moment.
The second your mind begins to wonder, within 5 minutes you might be thinking about how terrible your life is.
Therefore, learning how to overcome the negative thoughts, and truly embrace the moment you’re in, will be your biggest superpower.
You are ready, you are capable
Your internal thoughts determined your mood, which determines your actions, which determines your results, which determines your life.
Be conscious and aware of your internal dialogue. You are way more capable of achieving this task than you realize.
God Puts us in situations in which we can handle.
God knows you better than yourself, so he’s always looking for ways to grow you, and challenge you.
So the next time you feel like you’re not able to do something, flip the script, and tell yourself that you are able, you are confident, you are powerful, and you are going to make it happen!
Making clutch field goals, definitely makes you feel on top of the mountain.
There are primarily two types of people who handle clutch field goals.
- The ones who think about all the wrong things that can happen,
- The ones who block out all thoughts, and know that this kick is going through the uprights.
As a result, the outcome directly reflects how the kicker feels. If you feel like you’re going to miss, you’re going to miss.
If you feel, and know that you’re going to make it, you better believe is going to be one of the best field goals you’ve ever had.
Some of the key points on clutch field goals we talked about today were:
- Focusing on the present moment and paying attention to your breathing when your heart rate gets high
- Pay attention to your internal dialogue, as it directly affects the outcome
- Over prepare, so when the real moment comes when you need to make that kick, you’ve practiced it a hundred times
- Get comfortable being uncomfortable, believe in yourself, and make it happen!
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Thanks again for reading, and stay amazing!