Taking Flyte: Weatherford on Mental Preparation

"One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation." - Arthur Ashe

Today, I’m writing the second article in our monthly series, “Taking Flyte," showcasing friend and partner Steve Weatherford’s advice on topics relating to health, fitness, and wellness. Last month, Steve reflected on the ups and downs of 2015. Today, Steve shares his thoughts on how he prepares to perform at his best: before, during, and after a big event.

There’s no bigger event for a professional football player than the Super Bowl. Steve shared how he mentally prepared throughout his experience with the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLVI. The Giants won 21-17 over the New England Patriots and Steve played a pivotal role, pinning three punts within the Patriots' 20-yard line (two within the 10-yard line) which created field position havoc for the opposition. So, how did he mentally prepare for the biggest event of his life? We asked him.

Entering the Super Bowl, how did you mentally prepare for the big event?
Weatherford: “You treat it like anything else. I draw my confidence from knowing that I did every single possible thing up to that point to prepare myself for that one moment to be the greatest in the world. It's not that I had to go do yoga and find my Zen. For me, hard, hard, hard freaking work in the off-season is where I get my confidence.”

I’ve seen this hard work first-hand myself. We discussed how he prepared for the Super Bowl while we worked out in a marathon session that included an intense Core Flyte workout and what he calls “ARMageddon,” an all-out assault on every area of the tricep and bicep muscles. My arms felt like jelly for a couple of days after!

You’re playing in the Super Bowl. The stakes are high. How did you stay mentally focused?
Weatherford: “Nobody was having more fun in that game than I did. I was celebrating. I was hopping around. I was having fun. I was giggling. I know that you're only as good as your next play. For me, my first punt at the Super Bowl led to two points for us [a safety on Pats superstar Tom Brady]. That's as good as it gets for a punter. It's about being excited that you did well and then letting that go and focusing on the next play. Same thing if you had a bad one. If you have a bad one you let that go… short-term memory is key.”

Steve reminds those of us who know him that you can perform at a high level and have fun at the same time: they are not mutually exclusive. The important thing is to focus on your role and execute well each step of the way. In fact, for many people, having fun helps them stay loose – especially in a high-pressure situation – which can improve performance.

Taking Flyte: Weatherford on Mental Preparation

You won the Super Bowl. How did you mentally absorb such a big win?
Weatherford: “It’s important to celebrate. If you asked me before the game, ‘How many beers would have after you won the Super Bowl?’ I would have told you ‘all of them!’ But after the Super Bowl, I’m not kidding you, I went to the Super Bowl post-party and there were celebrities everywhere and everyone is partying and having a good time… but I had one drink, a Jack and Coke. I drank that drink and I looked at my wife and said, ‘I don’t want to feel any different. I’m not drinking anymore.’ With the euphoria that came from a lifetime of preparation to achieve a lifetime goal, I didn’t want to feel any different. I didn’t need alcohol to feel any different. I had just one drink. I enjoyed the celebration for about three hours with my mom, my dad, my in-laws, my son, and my daughter. I ended up going to bed around two in the morning. That was earlier than every single one of my teammates.”

Steve is a fun guy. His energy is insane. At the Super Bowl, he was as excited as anyone. At the end of the day, however, he was able to keep the achievement in perspective and enjoy it for what it was: the pinnacle of athletic accomplishment. And he did it with his family, which now includes two more children. And who knows… maybe while he was celebrating he was secretly thinking about his next workout!

We’d love to hear from you. How do you mentally prepare for a big event? Comment below or on our Facebook page or tweet us at @flytefitness.

Be Flyte Fit,

Jeremy Greenberg
Co-Founder & CEO
Flyte Fitness