The psychology of wind sprints.
Every football season starts the same way – I have to re-adjust attitudes toward wind sprints. Most rookies believe that wind sprints are punishment, ranking somewhere between actual torture and being forced to read a book. Mindset adjustment is the key – wind sprints are a huge benefit, the difference between getting clobbered and doing the clobbering. Change the focus change the outcome.
Wind sprints don’t need mental toughness…they build it. Wind sprints have strengthened the weakest of minds. Most rookies who I have coached come in with minimal mental toughness, ready to cave in at the earliest onset of pressure or discomfort from exertion. Wind sprints change that. But it’s not just about running aimlessly. Even though it’s simple, there’s a science to it…the psychology of wind sprints. The key is to focus only on the wind sprint being run. Don’t focus on the next wind sprint or the total number that have to be run. Focusing on the big picture makes the mind think of more pain than it can handle. Thinking of anticipated pain is a leading cause of quitting. Anticipated pain is worse than the actual discomfort of sprinting. The mind has a vivid imagination, conjuring uncomfortable images that terrify instead of inspire.
It’s important to focus on the fact that the body will adapt and get used to running fast and the benefits of running lots of wind sprints – machine-like leanness and meanness. Constant reminders are needed because the inner voice will try to override reason. Focus on the benefit and focus only on the next sprint – the secret to not quitting.
Part 3 explains the psychology of the “finish line.”