#Choker. With all the deepest and most profound love and respect, #Choker sounds like an insult. It isn’t. It’s an accurate title. It fits. #Choking isn’t an insult. Its a condition that has to be prevented to stop playoff dreams from dying. The more you #choke, the more you die.
#Choking is a real, life-and-death condition that can be prevented to prevent catastrophe results in mind-body-soul. Two #NFL playoff games involved two types of #Choking last weekend – blowing a huge lead and not blowing-up a huge lead.
All choking starts with a big lead. Three examples from last weekend’s #NFL playoffs:
- Houston Texans 24 – Kansas City Chiefs 0, early 2nd quarter
- Kansas City Chiefs 41 – Houston Texans 31, end of 3rd quarter
- Tennesse Titans 14 – Baltimore Ravens 6, halftime
- Tennesse Titans 28 – Baltimore Ravens 6, end of 3rd quarter
Houston choked twice or just suffered one long choke depending on perspective. Same applied to Baltimore. Houston blew a monster lead and failed to blow-up a Kansas City. Baltimore failed to blow-up several Tennessee leads.
For 40 years, my football’s team Code of Conduct defined #Choking as a crime committed by suffocation and asphyxiation caused by wrapping and trapping of Layers of Limitations.
A #LayerOfLimitation is a Power of Arrest – any circumstance that detains in custody the potential you have built-up and the unfulfilled potential you have wasted. A Power of Arrest uses F.A.T. – Fear, Anxiety, Tension – to make the arrest.
F.A.T. is caused by the belief, real or imagined, that you and your team are unprepared, that you have not trained for what is happening, that you are out of your league, in an Outer Space defined as a place that exceeded your training – beyond your strength, your skill, your stamina, your smarts, your speed, all the elements that constitute your Reality IQ – street smarts and book smarts. All your experiences, practical or academic.
Every Layer of Limitation wraps and traps tighter, choking off supply – blood supply, air supply, adrenaline supply. No supply, no demand. Every Layer of Limitation has the power to arrest, to stop you, you hold you in custody in a mind-body-soul prison that cuts off all your Basic Survival Needs until you drop to dead-last.
Fall behind, start the grind. #FallingBehind is code-word for laziness. Falling behind is an outcome of abandoning the grind. When you fall behind, immediately adopt and engage in the grind, before you become a victim of the grind.
Fall behind, no time to find. Panic sets in when you fall behind, prompting a furious search to find a solution. Trying to find a solution is futile – a waste of time and energy. You don’t find a solution, you call it out. You call out an immediate subconscious response. You flip the inner switch and activate stored up instinct and intuition without hesitation.
Fall behind, lose your mind. If you have never experienced the hell of falling behind during practice, you will lose your mind on GameDay by losing the ability to #ThinkStraight, the capacity to #ThinkOnline, along a straight line from Point A to Point B. If you have never practiced making a comeback in practice, you have never practiced the essential act of #Thinking OffLine, the ability to make rapid-fire decision under intense pressure when the straight line disappears, when there is no longer a straight path to the goal-line.
#Choking never leaves you. Ever. No delete function. Just replay. Exhibit A – my high school team’s 1988 championship game. My poor team had a 28-13 lead over Goliath. We lost 34-28. For the first time in my coaching career, we blew a 15-point lead in a championship game, allowing Goliath to score 21 consecutive points in less than 12 minutes. #Choking is hell. There are no moral victories in blowing a lead – none. A Lead positions you out front. A Lead is evidence that you have more firepower, more strength, more skill. Blowing a lead proves you have no stamina, no guts, no balls.
Then we choked again after Goliath took the lead 34-28 with 3:16 left in the 4th quarter. We choked on the final drive. Two short chokes or one long choke – depends on perspective.
Here’s the good news about choking – investigate choking and you will solve the mystery of choking to prevent you from ever becoming a #ChokingVictim again.