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Focus on: Preparation

Posted Jan 17, 2014

For Russell Wilson, seeing is believing. And the Seahawks’ second-year quarterback starts by visualizing situations and circumstances the night before games, even when that game is the NFC Championship game.

As Russell Wilson has reminded us on numerous occasions this season, the separation is in the preparation.

Friday, on the eve of the eve of Sunday’s NFC Championship game at CenturyLink Field, the Seahawks’ second-year quarterback shared one of his preparation secrets. Or re-shared, as Wilson first talked about using visualization on the eve of his first preseason game in 2012.

But this time, Wilson went into the reasoning, as well as the roots, behind a staple of his night-before routine.

“I’m a person that visualizes all the time – different situations and anticipating those situations throughout the week, and the offseason and all that, and the night before the game,” Wilson said after practice, when 10 cameras were focused on him in the auditorium at Virginia Mason Athletic Center.

“I really believe that helps my game. And also calms me. I’ve already been there 100 times throughout the week. So just knowing those situations throughout every play, throughout different circumstances and situations – end of half, end of games, third-down situations. I anticipate those situations before they happen, and that allows me to make quick decisions and all that.”

It also plays into the poise that is such a part of his game.

“Grace under pressure and just being calm,” Wilson said. “I really don’t try to worry too much. I trust my teammates. I trust the calls. I trust myself, more than anything. So I just go out there and play the game of football.”

And that’s probably why the Seahawks’ offensive motto could be, “In Russell we trust.”

Asked when he began to use visualization, the 25-year-old Wilson offered, “I started doing that at a young age.”

Or a younger age.

“Obviously, I love sports, playing football and basketball and baseball,” he said, and then added with a laugh, “Wasn’t too good in basketball.”

But that’s where the idea to visualize is rooted.

“Just growing up, watching Allen Iverson and watching guys like Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan, they used to always talk about visualizing,” Wilson said. “So that’s something I’ve always kind of worked on ever since I was younger.”

Wilson was better at baseball than basketball, if not football. He has been selected in the Major League Baseball Draft twice, and played minor-league baseball before turning fulltime to what has become his profession.

“Visualizing is also kind of a baseball technique-type thing,” he said. “And I think it definitely translates to playing the quarterback position, and just trusting myself and trusting the situation.

“At the end of the day, you have to trust what you see. When you’re playing the quarterback situation, things happen so fast, especially when you’re playing a great defense like the 49ers. You drop back, you hit your fifth step and you make a decision. It’s either yes or no. And you make that decision and you just trust it.”

Take it from a guy who’s already seen it.