Friday, December 6, 2013
Wilson works hard on mental focus
By Terry Blount
RENTON, Wash. -- No one believes in mental preparation more than Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. As part of his mental prep each week, Wilson meets with Dr. Michael Gervais, who once was dubbed “the sports psychologist to the stars.”
“I see him pretty much every Monday,” Wilson said. “I just try to meet up with him for 45 minutes to an hour. We talk about life in general, but more so about how I train my mind to be focused all the time.
“That's one of the things I've always kind of had, but I'm continuing to try to grow my game intellectually. I'm pretty good at turning the switch on and off, and I want to be able to turn it on whenever I need to hit that button to make sure that I'm in the zone.”
Over the past two seasons, Russell Wilson has been at his best in November and December.
Wilson certainly has been in the zone this season, leading the Seahawks to an 11-1 record. One of the things you notice about Wilson watching him every week is that he never gets rattled in a game and always keep his composure.
“I just focus on the moment,'' he said. “That's allowed me to play at a higher level. To do that, you need to understand what that feels like. I think the hardest thing for athletes is really to understand that feeling.
“I always say to Dr. Gervais, ‘Go to that place.' When I'm in the zone, I always say, ‘Laser focused.' So for me, I want to be laser focused when I'm out on the field for those three hours. I want to be the most focused person I can possibly be. That gives me a better chance to be successful.”
When you ask Wilson about all the MVP talk, he quickly tells you that isn't his focus. He deflects the conversation away from himself and on to his teammates.
“I don't worry about any of that,” Wilson said. “All I care about is trying to put this football team in position to win games.”
Wilson then proceeds to list almost every player on the Seattle offense, saying how each man has contributed to his success. But he did single out running back Marshawn Lynch as deserving of MVP consideration.
Nice try, Russ, but you are the man and everyone knows it. Here are a few of the reasons why:
Since Week 9 last season, Wilson's 112.9 passer rating is the best in the NFL.
His .786 winning percentage (22-6 in his career) is the best of any active NFL quarterback with at least 15 starts.
Wilson is one of only three quarterbacks in NFL history to throw at least 48 TD passes in his first two seasons, joining Dan Marino and Peyton Manning. And Wilson will move to No. 2 on that list and pass Manning's total of 52 if Wilson throws five more TD passes the rest of the way this season.
Wilson has a total quarterback rating of 97.0 over the past three games, 17 points higher than anyone else in the NFL.
Over the past two seasons, Wilson leads the NFL in QBR (86.3), completion percentage (69.3), yards per attempt (9.5) and TD-interception ratio (6.3) in the months of November and December.
It's tough to find any negatives on Wilson, but here's one entering Sunday's game at Candlestick Park: His only game in San Francisco may have been the worst of his career. Wilson completed only 9 of 23 throws (39.1 percent) and threw for 122 yards, both career lows in a 13-6 loss.
However, that was the seventh game of his rookie season, over one year ago. Needless to say, Wilson is a much different player today than he was then. Wilson said he was only using about 75 percent of the playbook at that point last season.
“I've just learned so much more from the experience that I've had,” Wilson said. “The coaches really trust me now in terms of the play calling and being able to check calls and making sure our reads are on the money. That's what I want to try to do, so we've definitely put in more stuff and we've continued to progress offensively.”
Wilson said he is much more aware of what to do in any given situation that he was a year ago.
“That the biggest thing I've noticed,” he said. “Just in terms of protection calls for me, understanding where I want to send the protection and all that, and knowing my receivers that much better.”
Those are things a quarterback can't truly simulate in practice.
“When you're playing in a game, it's a lot different than anything else,” Wilson said. “Especially when you're playing a team like the 49ers, where they're very, very athletic and can make a lot of plays. You've got to be precise all the time. You have to really trust your reads and trust what you see and trust your instincts.”
Wilson's instincts, mentally and physically, have been spot on this season.