(CBS DETROIT) – The Detroit Lions have shown the world this season that they have what it takes to succeed, but can they handle the pressure — heading into the championship — with a first-ever trip to the Super Bowl on the line?
Metro Detroit sports psychology coach Dr. Jason Novetsky with the Champion Mindset Group tells CBS Detroit he believes the Lions have it in them.
He says that while Sunday’s game against the San Francisco 49ers will be physical, the key to winning will be mental toughness.
“If you see something as a threat, you’re going to be scared, you are going to be worried about a bunch of things outside of your control, and it’s going to freeze you up, and that’s when people tend to choke. And if you see it as a challenge or opportunity, then you will be more present, grounded in the moment, focusing on what you need to do to pursue success than focused on avoiding mistakes,” Dr. Novetsky said.
And make no mistake about it, Novetsky says he has had his challenges with keeping his emotions under wrap. He says it was almost near impossible to do when he spent the Lions’ first two playoff games rooting them on at Ford Field.
“It was emotional. I tried to separate my business side from my fan side, and the fan side took over,” Novetsky said.
As for the fans, he says handling any pressure, anticipation, or excitement is nothing a little meditation, yoga, or even some deep breaths can’t fix before the big game.
“Let’s keep it in perspective; it’s still a sport, it’s a game. Yes, it means a lot. I’m not diminishing that, but it’s not life or death; the sun will come up on Monday, and life will go on,” Novetsky said.
The Detroit Lions travel to take on the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday at 6:30 p.m.