Some of the qualities of great NFL quarterbacks are quite obvious and well known by coaches and by football fans. Top quarterbacks tend to be about 6'3" tall and they typically weigh about two hundred and fifteen pounds. In addition, they need a strong throwing arm, quick feet, the ability to read defenses, outstanding vision, fine reflexes, clock management skills, self-discipline, focus, confidence and a personality which allows them to stay calm under pressure.
The great quarterbacks also tend to be good leaders and outstanding communicators. Politicians have the luxury of using speech writers to assist them when they need to communicate with their publics. Quarterbacks need to be able to communicate effectively with the players and the coaches during the heat of fast paced battle.
Several years ago, a talented young quarterback came to see me because he wanted to learn how he could better relate to and communicate with his teammates in the huddle. This fine young man had all the physical tools of a great football general. He was a star in high school, but had more difficulty managing the members of his college team who came from a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds.
This young man was rather quiet, shy and soft spoken and he was having some difficulty in motivating and encouraging his teammates, particularly when they were faced with pressure and chaos which are often present in an important and close game.
The first thing I helped him with was the building of his own self-confidence . Once I built him up a bit, and his self-confidence grew, we started to discuss how he could improve his relationships with his teammates.
We spent some time working on his communication style and on bettering his on and off field relationships with his teammates. He made a point to spend more time off the field with members of the football team. I suggested that he keep a journal on each of this teammates which would remind him of what might motivate them during the course of a game.
Once he understood more about the other players, it was easy to develop more effective ways to talk to each and every member of his offensive team.
I familiarized him with motivational speeches and gave him some suggestions as to how to inspire, motivate, encourage and get his teammates focused on the bench and in the huddle. After all, I spend a lot my time giving emotional pep talks to patients every day.
A good quarterback needs to know how each of his teammates is likely to behave during a game. He also needs to know that what motivates lineman to block effectively may not be the same thing which inspires receivers to perform well. He also needs to know what he needs to do get his teammates to feel positively about him.
These kinds of management and leadership skills are not easy for a young athlete to learn. Consider how hard it is for experienced managers, leaders and executives to communicate effectively with their staffs and their employees
However, a young athlete who develops these interpersonal skills is building a foundation to be a fine leader in sports as well as in his off the field profession.
Jay P. Granat, Ph. D. is a psychotherapist and the founder of http://www.stayinthezone.com He has written several books and developed several programs to help people perform to their fullest potential at sports, at work and at school. Dr. Granat, a former university professor, has appeared in The New York Times, Good Morning America, AP, ESPN, Golf Digest, The BBC and The CBC. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org His books include Zone Tennis and Get Into The Zone In Just One Minute. He is also the author of How To Get Into The Zone With Sport Psychology And Self-Hypnosis, How To Lower Your Golf Score With Sport Psychology And Self-Hypnosis, 101 Ways To Break Out Of A Hitting Slump and Bed Time Stories For Young Athletes. Golf Digest named Dr. Granat one of America's Top Ten Mental Gurus. He was recently featured in a documentary film on long distance running. Dr. Granat writes a weekly column for three newspapers.