One of the most important mental skills a football player can have is focus- a focus on your role in the present moment. One of the biggest factors that pulls football players out of the present moment and the task at hand is the “fan mentality.” The fan mentality is when an athlete thinks like a spectator, focusing on factors the fans do, like rankings, stories of individuals, predications, box scores, records, media hype, etc.

You’re either an athlete or fan.

The fan mentality can be especially challenging for a football player to overcome because there’s so much hype around the sport. This doesn’t mean it’s impossible to overcome. It just means you will have to be intentional about doing it.

The major problem with all the hype is that it doesn’t help improve your performance and it can often add pressure. Will reading your opponent’s past results help you wrap better on a tackle? Will it help you run a better route or complete a pass? That’s a big NO! Most players will agree that they play their best when they don’t know much about the credentials of their opponents. Of course, it’s important to watch film and scout your opponents. What’s important is to stay away from the hype factors that the fans can get caught up in, not the things you should be looking out for on the field.

The good news is, overcoming the fan mentality a quicker fix than most mental training. Simply steer clear of the hype and distance yourself mentally or physically from people who are involved in the hype. You are either in the circle or out of the circle, an athlete or a fan- you can’t be both effectively.

Mindset Tip- Don’t look at or talk about rankings, forums, box scores or news articles about football at your level until the season is over. When you have an urge to do so, watch a motivational video instead or get your mindset training done. Focus on the things that will help make you a better athlete.

Mindset Pro Tip- Get off social media during the season! Yes, this may be challenging but if your mindset is negatively affected by things you read on social media about opponents, future competition, your own team or even yourself, then get away from it! This is exactly what Lebron James does every postseason- a social media blackout.

Remember- you’re an athlete not a fan act like it!