Friday, October 3, 2014

What Makes Aaron Rodgers Such A Great Quarterback

Last night Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers threw his 200th touchdown pass. It only took 99 games to achieve this milestone and only one passer in NFL history accomplished this feat more quickly. The week before against the Chicago Bears Rodgers reached the 25,000 yards passing milestone, and this was accomplished faster than any player in history, bar none.

What is it that makes athletes like Rodgers exceptional? Is there a common denominator in great hitters, great infielders, great goalies, great quarterbacks and great race car drivers. And is there a way we can use this information to become exceptional ourselves?

Lambeau Field end zone.
There are undoubtedly many qualities that contribute to success, but one in particular that seems especially common to all is the ability to anticipate. Alertness, focus, anticipation. Here’s an excerpt from a blog called Axon Potential which deals with the mindset of athletes:

"Based on athletes’ reports and technology that tracks their eye movements, we know that athletes anticipate what’s coming next by focusing only on the most relevant cues in an opponents’ movement pattern. And that this skill changes and becomes refined with training. The eyes of novices are all over the place, whereas athletes’ focus is much more targeted and economical. Across a number of different sports, expert athletes demonstrate similar “visual search strategies”. Their eyes focus on fewer targets, jump around less, and they stay focused for longer periods of time than do the eyes of novices."

This is a fascinating concept because in a world filled with a gazillion pieces of information flying at us from all directions, how do we process it all? The key for Aaron Rodgers when he faces down 11 defenders has more to do with which information not to process, and identifying the right cues so as to obtain the most effective result. Crowd noise and stunt maneuvers by defensive linemen are all distractions.

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