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Achieving Greatness

By Angela Charlton, PhD
Manager of Player Engagement 

“Mental preparation begins off-the-field and is a direct reflection of your performance on-the-field. It allows you to reach your greatness and full potential.”
~ Jerry Gray, Defensive Coordinator, Tennessee Titans

Jerry Gray knows about achieving greatness. Before becoming a successful coach, Jerry played eight years in the NFL, which consisted of four Pro Bowl selections, including one MVP Pro Bowl honor. Coach Gray states that, “Mental preparation allows you to reach your greatness and full potential. So study and know your opponent, but know yourself even better. Most importantly, be a visionary and envision yourself great in every play with an expected outcome. The mental part of the game will bring you closer to achieving your full potential and your own greatness.”

As an NFL player, you take extraordinary steps such as strenuous work-outs, ice baths, and pushing your body to its limits to be ready when the season starts. You go hard each and every day to get your body physically ready for the game. So why not take those same steps to get your life off-the-field in order and ready? Along with all the pressures and physical stress of being a professional athlete come a lot of mental stress and relationships to manage. At times, it may be difficult to manage all of the things you are faced with, so there are individuals on the team such as the Director of Player Engagement and clinicians, as well as individuals such as myself on the League level to assist you. If your body hurts or you’re injured, you go and see the trainer. Use that same philosophy with your life. As Coach Gray stated, there is a direct relationship between mental preparation and on-the-field performance. Handling these off-the-field issues may be the determining factor between being a good player and a great one. “You must see yourself great before you can become great!” – Jerry Gray.

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