Lions May get Redskins Starting Peak Performance
As the Washington Redskins head to Ford Field to battle the Detroit Lions, the Burgundy and gold may be starting to reach their peak performance just at the right time. The best time for a team to hit the top of its game is in the second half of the season so if the upward trend continues in Michigan, the Redskins should be able to continue their win streak as they move into the bye.
What is ‘peak performance’ anyway?
One definition of the phrase is: “a state that is also known as the peak experience, the zone of optimal functioning and flow. It refers to a moment when an individual puts it all together… when they are in the zone. When everything flows, and when they achieve an exceptional performance.”
Whether the Redskins are performing at their peak requires examining the principals of the state.
There are theories out there that maintain that, to achieve peak performance requires deliberate practice, a focus on fundamentals, training to beat the best and motivation. The NFL has proven that talent isn’t always required to win so, if a team accomplishes these principles, peak performance can be realized.
The number of times any given Redskins coach — or player for that matter —has said the words “had a great practice” and/or “focus on fundamentals” is more than can be counted in a few minutes. These are key emphases of the coaching staff and the players. As well, training to beat the best is something that has been slowly cultivated in Washington’s locker room starting at the time former Head Coach Mike Shanahan arrived. Current HC Jay Gruden has fostered this idea and, based on what players say, it appears to be a focal point in the locker room.
Motivation is generally inherent in players that join a team from either winning college programs or other successful organizations and the Redskins have acquired many of these types of guys over the last five years. They are currently so motivated that after the big win over the Philadelphia Eagles, there was minimal celebration and an obvious ‘OK… that was great. Who’s next?’ attitude.
If one were to consider the play of players like OLB Trent Murphy, safeties Duke Ihenacho and Will Blackmon, rookie CB Kendall Fuller and RB Matt Jones; the conclusion would be that the team is improving. The players and coaches talk about getting better each and every day at practice and so far, this has manifested on game day with four straight wins and a good shot at extending that streak to five this Sunday.
“Well, you know… we’re always striving to play better each and every week,” defensive coordinator Joe Barry said. “You know, I equate it a lot of times to I read Michael Jordan refer to what he calls a ‘peak performer,’ and a peak performer is someone who equals or betters their last performance. And even though we played well last week, you know, it’s the challenge for us as coaches but the players love it. They want that challenge. Let’s go out and play better this week, you know? And if we can peak perform each and every week, that’s obviously the goal. That’s what you want to do.
“From a work ethic standpoint, from a preparation standpoint, you know, I’ve sat up here and said this… …from OTAs [through] training camp,” the DC went on. “We’ve got a great group of guys that come into work every day and punch the clock and grind. And even when we weren’t playing well, it wasn’t because of lack of preparation or work ethic. Our guys are very special. We’ve got a special group when it comes to that but they want to be challenged and they want to play better every week, you know? Doesn’t matter what you did the week before, let’s go out and peak perform this week and they love that and they’re up to the challenge every week.”