Like everything else, being a starting quarterback in the NFL takes a village. Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is no different.
Wilson is one of the best quarterbacks in league history, but he did not get there by himself. The Super Bowl winning quarterback has a team behind him that includes a physical therapist, a personal trainer, a massage therapist, and a private chef.
Wilson’s mental conditioning coach Trevor Moawad assists the Seahawks signal caller with his psychological conditioning exercises that he uses on and off the football field. They even took their partnership a step further and founded a company called Limitless Minds. It focuses on bring the competitive mindset as an athlete into the corporate sector.
Moawad recently sat down with Fast Company to discuss Wilson's success and how others can incorporate it into their lives.
"The way I look at mental conditioning is that it is the belief that you can train the mind in the same way you can train the body and other elements. The mind is a muscle that is pliable and can also be developed," said Moawad.
"Our main goal with Russell [Wilson] is really controlling external language. We are constantly monitoring that language, and instead of focusing on being positive, which is connected many times to an outcome - 'I will win I won't, I will throw touchdowns I won't' - or negative, which is also a negative outcome which is focused on 'that just happened and because it was bad, it's going to continue to happen.' We really focus on neutral language, which focuses on the next behavior, the next thing I can do that will allow me to be successful."
Earlier this year in an interview with Men's Health, Wilson discussed the progress on shifting into neutral thinking.
“Neutral thinking is going to the truth. Where are we at? What situation are we in? How are we going to execute?” Wilson said. “Some people call it keeping an even keel, but I think it’s deeper than that. I always want to remain neutral.”
Down 21 to 3 heading into halftime of the 2019 NFC Divisional Round against the Packers, the Seahawks faced an uphill battle in the second half. Seattle was able to keep a neutral mindset and outscored Green Bay 20-7 in the final two quarters, but it wasn't enough as the Packers went on to win the game 28-23 and advanced to the NFC Championship Game.
However, this same technique helped Wilson and the Seahawks beat the Packers in the 2014 NFC Championship Game. Trailing 19-7 with 5:13 left in regulation, they mounted a historic comeback that was aided by an onside kick recovery by receiver Chris Matthews. Wilson didn't panic despite throwing four interceptions in that game, eventually throwing a game-winning touchdown to Jermaine Kearse in overtime to send Seattle back to the Super Bowl.
“I think mental performance can give you an additional three to five percent wherever you are in your life,” said Moawad. "To hit your peak, you’ve got to do the training, of course, but when you can manage your mind and learn neutral thinking - that’s the real power play."
There's plenty of other reasons behind Wilson's success since entering the NFL in 2012, including his legendary work ethic. But it's clear his mental approach has been one of the main catalysts that has helped him stay on top of his game at an individual level and helped his team remain consistent winners.