Imagine, as a student, that one day you walk into class and find out that it’s now your job to teach the class. It would be uncomfortable, right? However, provided you don’t quit going to that class altogether, it would progressively grow more normal to be teaching the class. This is an example of expanding your comfort zone. You took something that was familiar to you, being a student, and did something that was new and uncomfortable, teaching, until it became common and comfortable. Now, you are comfortable with both teaching and being a student.  This concept of expanding your comfort zone can be used as a means of improving your mental toughness in football.

Personally, I started out high school as one the smallest guys on a district championship football team. Most players my size would have quit, but I always strived to make an impact. In practice, no matter what hitting drills we were doing, you could find me lined up with a 6 foot+ lineman, giving my all! By doing this, I was preparing for the toughest challenges I’d face on the field and attacking what could be a potentially intimidating situation head on! This expanded my comfort zone, I easily could have done those drills with the lighter players but I wanted to prepare for the toughest challenges I’d face in games.

Expanding your comfort zone is a key component for helping you develop confidence in yourself in whatever your position you play and whatever situation you find yourself in on the football field. Without doing this, it would be easy to develop a mental block anytime you encounter a circumstance that is less than perfect. It’s unlikely you’ll ever have a perfect situation. You will have to compete against players on the other side of the ball that are better than you. You will play against people that are bigger, stronger, faster or more agile than you. There will be unavoidable situations that will cause less than perfect conditions. Are you gonna be able to push through it if you wake up sick on game day or your girlfriend dumps you the night before? Are you used to dealing with mentally and physically uncomfortable situations? If you consistently work to expand your comfort zone by putting yourself in potentially uncomfortable situations in practice, workouts, and everyday life you can have confidence going into games even though the circumstances aren’t perfect!