Sports psychologist breaks down Super Bowl

Metro caught up with sports psychologist Dr. Jack Stark, who has worked with hundreds of pro athletes on mental preparedness for big games like the Super Bowl.

Stark gave his insight into what makes guys like Eli Manning and Tom Brady so clutch in big spots. Here’s some highlights from the interview:

Doctor, what makes some players perform better in high-pressure situations?

Well, some people, when they get down to the, you know, you saw what happened in the playoffs … the Ravens missed an easy field goal and the 49ers, the kickoff guy, had two — a fumble and another one hit his leg — for a turnover. It cost them. Some people get anxious, nervous. Some people just want the ball. The bigger the playing field, the more relaxed they get and the happier they are. They just kind of go in that zone and it all depends on the personality.

What makes Eli Manning and Tom Brady so good in those tight situations?

Both of them are great, cerebral guys. Smart guys, calm, collected. They have to be in the pocket and have guys come moving by you and wanting to take your head off half the time, but I think they are both very gifted in that sense — neither one of them seems to get rattled and neither one of them is injured at this point, so I think it’s going to be on their shoulders. They are going to shine and either  one of them is going to make it or break it. It’s going to come down, I think, to a couple of plays.

Who do you think is better in the clutch: Eli or Brady?

I think Brady’s slightly better in the clutch because he’s been there so many times, but you know Eli is not that far behind. He’s not a guy that gets too high or too low; that’s what you like about him. He’s a lot like his brother. He’s been taught that you don’t get too excited … you score a touchdown and you’re not jumping up and down going crazy, screaming and yelling.

Is the players’ preparation different during the Super Bowl than in a regular-season game?

In society, in the way we look at things, the regular season counts but the playoffs count even more because that’s what determines the championship. If Eli gets two championships, is that better than the 10 great years and one championship by Peyton? That’s how we measure things, with rings.  LeBron [James] doesn’t have one and Michael Jordan has six.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

Jews in eastern Ukraine ordered to register, Kerry…

Secretary of State John Kerry condemned reports that Jews in eastern Ukraine had been ordered to register with the authorities "or suffer the consequences."

National

Chelsea Clinton pregnant with first child

Chelsea Clinton is pregnant with her first child.

National

Divers struggle in search for South Korean ferry…

By Jungmin Jang and Narae KimMOKPO/JINDO, South Korea (Reuters) - Rescuers struggled with strong waves and murky waters on Thursday as they searched for hundreds…

National

New Hampshire moves to decriminalize adultery

For the first time in hundreds of years, it's about to be legal to cheat on your spouse in New Hampshire.

Television

Dick Wolf to bring fictionalized world of 'Law…

A&E has ordered a pilot called "D.O.A." from "Law and Order" mastermind Dick Wolf that will focus on real detectives reexamining cold cases. A trio…

Movies

Review: 'Transcendence' is not stupid but sometimes lacks…

The cyberthriller "Transcendence" explores artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and other ethical quandaries, but has too much ambition, if anything.

Television

Shane West talks WGN America's 'Salem'

The actor on history lessons, a new network and showing his butt.

Movies

Review: 'Fading Gigolo' finds few jokes in women…

John Turturro writes, directs and stars in "Fading Gigolo," in which he plays a prostitute whose pimp is Woody Allen. And there's still very few jokes.

NBA

Carmelo Anthony agonizing over Knicks future as season…

There’s still the cloud hanging over the franchise’s head as to the pending free-agent status of All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony.

NFL

Jets host players with eye toward NFL Draft

The Jets hosted a number of NFL Draft hopefuls for workouts on Thursday, with an eye toward some under-the-radar players.

NFL

Chris Johnson: I wanted to go to 'a…

Now that Chris Johnson is a Jet, the team has to figure out if one of the most explosive players in the NFL over the last half decade has anything…

NHL

Rangers' speed versus Flyers' size makes interesting playoff…

Among the myriad aspects that will make this Metropolitan Division semifinal series fascinating will be the battle between the Rangers' speed and the Flyers' size,…

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.

Travel

Earth Day travel in the Florida Keys

See why this eco-friendly destination deserves your attention.

Tech

Sorry, Facebook — FarmVille goes mobile with 'Country…

Zynga has released a version of the hit "FarmVille" tailored for smartphones and tablets in the hope of reaping a bumper crop of players.