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Our Team's Mental Acuity and Resilience: Perhaps Look at improving the Sports Psychology staff?


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*Updated Post-Season 2019*

I would suggest we look at our Sports Psychology department--it was a heralded tool back in the 90s, and Dr. Jack Stark, during our run of dominance, has since been a sought-after consultant for this aspect of sports after retiring in 2003. 

 

One of the things we've seen comments on is this team's fragile psyche--how when they get a lead, it seems as though they're waiting for the proverbial other shoe to drop (see: Colorado 2019, Northwestern 2018), how they have problems with mental mistakes in crucial situations (see most of our 2019 games that were close), or just haven't exhibited a positive, winning attitude. I feel we've seen a distinct degradation in mental preparedness by this team that continues to this day--lack of focus (resulting in bad broken plays or penalties), stupid penalties due to getting worked up/not controlling themselves, letting down during plays/series--all things that point to the mental aspect of this team not being where it could or should be. 

 

Our Sports Psychology department currently has someone in charge that was installed at the end of the Pelini era and was around for the entirety of the Riley era. And while wins and losses aren't relegated to just one aspect of the game (most of the time) behind the scenes, it does concern me that we seem to field a mentally weak team and that our AD hasn't looked to upgrade/improve this aspect of our University's sports portfolio.

 

I would suggest that the University needs to consult with or bring someone like Jack Stark back into the fold to help improve our Sports Psychology department.  No, this isn't a sexy fix or improvement like the weight room or a new Special Teams coordinator, and I get that some of the "tough guys" on the forum aren't comfortable discussing Psychology and will likely dismiss this out of hand as a result of their insecurities. 

But after what we've seen this season, with the term "mentally fragile" showing up repeatedly in game threads (from multiple posters, natch) to describe this team...wouldn't it be wise to spend some time, money, and effort on improving this aspect?

 

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I don't know that I buy that we're still losing because we're "mentally soft." Last year and under Riley, absolutely - players stopped playing hard and gave up. They didn't give up against Colorado, t

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I don't know that I buy that we're still losing because we're "mentally soft." Last year and under Riley, absolutely - players stopped playing hard and gave up. They didn't give up against Colorado, they were still playing hard. They absolutely need to develop the killer instinct, and maybe a sports psychologist could help with that. But I think it comes with experience, and this team is still new to even having the opportunity to step on an opponent's throat. This is different than most of the issues last year, with the exception of the NW game. Let's give them more than 2 chances to put teams away before we insist they are mentally "soft."

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I think the only thing that changes it realistically is turning around the 'Win' column, which might take more seasons than we think.

 

The pressure in Lincoln is pretty huge. The kids get more comfortable with it when they win. It probably isn't realistic to go from 4-8 to even 10-2, no matter how many times we analyze the UCF turnaround. But I think that this was the expectation in the back of people's minds because of what Scott did at UCF.

 

The psyche of the team will flow back to how it was in the good old days under Scott's leadership - it just may take longer than we expected it to.

 

I also hope that people aren't judging the team's psyche by what players say in the post game & weekly pressers...because those interviews are pretty pointless.

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I'm not sure if we should label it "mentally soft" or what, but when players think they can let up, coast, or when the the momentum shifts to the opponent and they can't execute fundamental football, and also think "here we go again", then that is a poison that will prevent a team's progress, and can cause a team to lose games to less talented teams....

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3 minutes ago, Jarhead In Red said:

I'm not sure if we should label it "mentally soft" or what, but when players think they can let up, coast, or when the the momentum shifts to the opponent and they can't execute fundamental football, and also think "here we go again", then that is a poison that will prevent a team's progress, and can cause a team to lose games to less talented teams....

 

I'm not quite sure where the bolded is coming from.

 

The team came out and played the first have great.  The offense (not the defense) came out and let up in the third quarter.  Now, you are claiming that when CU got the momentum, they curled up in a  corner and couldn't execute fundamental football?

Hmmmm....after CU got the momentum, the offense came back and scored 2 TDs in the forth.  

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6 minutes ago, BigRedBuster said:

 

I'm not quite sure where the bolded is coming from.

 

The team came out and played the first have great.  The offense (not the defense) came out and let up in the third quarter.  Now, you are claiming that when CU got the momentum, they curled up in a  corner and couldn't execute fundamental football?

Hmmmm....after CU got the momentum, the offense came back and scored 2 TDs in the forth.  

Actually no, I'm not claiming anything specific about a game. I was just making a general point about comments our players have made, combined with the performance issues they have had over the past several years, and how that relates to their mental approach to the game. I never referenced a specific game at all,  or even specifically Offense or Defense. You are the one adding those modifiers and drawing conclusions that I didn't make.  

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6 minutes ago, BigRedBuster said:

 

I'm not quite sure where the bolded is coming from.

 

The team came out and played the first have great.  The offense (not the defense) came out and let up in the third quarter.  Now, you are claiming that when CU got the momentum, they curled up in a  corner and couldn't execute fundamental football?

Hmmmm....after CU got the momentum, the offense came back and scored 2 TDs in the forth.  

I think it's mostly from the press right now. 

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1 minute ago, Jarhead In Red said:

Actually no, I'm not claiming anything specific about a game. I was just making a general point about comments our players have made, combined with the performance issues they have had over the past several years. I never referenced a specific game at all,  or even specifically Offense or Defense. You are the one adding those modifiers and drawing conclusions that I didn't make.  

 

 

But...isn't this thread based off of the "melt down" in the second half of the CU game?

 

I still fail to see what you're talking about with the above bolded even taking the CU game out of the conversation.

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2 minutes ago, Jarhead In Red said:

Actually no, I'm not claiming anything specific about a game. I was just making a general point about comments our players have made, combined with the performance issues they have had over the past several years, and how that relates to their mental approach to the game. I never referenced a specific game at all,  or even specifically Offense or Defense. You are the one adding those modifiers and drawing conclusions that I didn't make.  

 

I haven't heard the "here we go again" feeling comments from players this year, and I don't think last year's comments factor in other than informing us it has been an issue in the past. Like BigRedBuster said, unless we're talking about last year the only relevant game is Colorado, and I didn't see it or hear it from the players, despite a few questions being asked about it specifically.

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1 minute ago, BigRedBuster said:

 

 

But...isn't this thread based off of the "melt down" in the second half of the CU game?

 

I still fail to see what you're talking about with the above bolded even taking the CU game out of the conversation.

If you read the opening post of the thread, it clear mentions the idea of a systemic performance issue that goes back several years. That's what I was commenting about.

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