Parcells’ “Psychology of Results”
By Anthony Lanzillo on Sep 7, 2016

scoreboardWhen Bill Parcells joined the football coaching staff at Army for the 1967 season as their new defensive line coach, he met and became good friends with Bob Knight who was the head coach of Army’s basketball team. They would end up spending hours together talking about coaching, strategy and motivation. It was during his time at Army, and the influence of Knight, that Parcells became a student of human behavior, and began to truly understand that the mental aspect of football and sports was just as important as the physical element.

In 1981, Parcells joined the New York Giants as their defensive coordinator, and two years later, became the head coach after Ray Perkins left for Alabama. As head coach, Parcells developed what he called “The Psychology of Results”. He realized that the results of a game would determine how he would respond to the team and prepare his players during the following week for the next game. Parcells was focusing on how to address his team’s mental and emotional responses to the different results of any particular game.

If the team had solidly defeated an opponent, Parcells was concerned about his team becoming overconfident because people were telling his players how great they were. Therefore, he wanted to keep his team grounded and focused. If the team was to lose a close game, and his team had given their best effort, Parcells didn’t want the players to overreact to the one game setback. He would talk to the players about maintaining a strong effort and that they would begin a winning stretch. If the team had suffered a resounding defeat, Parcells wanted to confront the players’ doubt by instilling confidence and redirecting their attention to what they needed to focus on for the next game. And, if the team won a game with what he called “subpar play”, Parcells reminded his players that their luck would run out if they didn’t recommit themselves to working hard and looking for ways to become a better team.

As you begin your football season, you may want to think about how your coaching staff will respond to the results and scoreboard after each game. Parcells offers a framework for how football coaches can get their players focused, and get the team ready to take a proactive and productive approach to preparing for the next game. The “Psychology of Results” provides a simple and straightforward process to making sure that your players appropriately respond to one game’s results, and then to take into consideration how those results will determine what you need to do to get these players effectively prepared, mentally and emotionally, for an upcoming game.

Anthony Lanzillo is a regular contributor to the FirstDown PlayBook Community site and also has created a mental preparation tool for athletes called The Mental Tune-Up. It is a great tool and resource for getting your players to make a commitment to becoming mentally stronger and tougher. If you would like more information on this tool, drop Anthony an email at risson1954@gmail. He has designed this process for 30, 60 or 90 days.