|05-30-2006, 12:45 AM||#1|
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Arcadia, CA
Mental Preparation (Hixon piece)
Monday, May 29, 2006
By Andrew Mason
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- If you follow the NFL long enough, you'll surely hear the phrase "mental reps" tossed about by players and coaches. But exactly what does the term mean?
Is it merely standing 10 or 15 years away from where a play takes place, silently observing? Is it walking around and talking to other teammates as they await their turns in the practice queue?
For Domenik Hixon, it means playing the role of mimic.
"They'll call a play, and (I'll be) lining up 10 yards behind," Hixon said. "I'll line up there, read the coverage, know what route to run and where to run it, and where I'm getting the ball. You're going through the same progressions, but physically, you're not doing it."
That's an unusual spot for Hixon, who in four years at the University of Akron established himself as one of college football's most durable players, never missing a game in two seasons at safety and then during his junior and senior campaigns at wide receiver.
"I've never sat out before," he said.
So when he broke his foot while working out two months ago, the ramifications stunned him. He'd been free of major injuries throughout his years at Akron, to be considered an injury risk because of a broken bone that would be completely healed by summer caught him by surprise -- and, he believes, adversely impacted his draft status.
"I think so. I went to Cincinnati (for a pre-draft physical) and their trainer said, 'That's a risk; I don't know if they're willing to take you,'" Hixon recalled. "(I heard) things like that."
All that, in spite of the fact that he managed to complete his on-campus Pro Day workout with the broken bone.
"I said, 'I can't sit out for my Pro Day; all the scouts are coming,' so I just ended up running on it," Hixon said. "To me, nothing was wrong with it. Then we had another Pro Day and me and my agent talked and he said, 'We'll just go get it checked out just in case,' and they said, 'Yeah, you were running on a broken foot.' I said, 'Man, that's crazy.' Thank God I was able to do all that."
Yet the recovery from subsequent surgery meant that his first weeks in Denver were spent running in rehabilitation drills, and not on the field. That doesn't mean he's been ignored as he moves through the paces of the ongoing practice nearby -- far from it, actually,
"Rod (Smith) will talk to me about my injury, and Javon (Walker) and I have had a chance to do rehab together, so we've had a chance to talk," Hixon said. "They've said, 'This is the first couple of steps in a marathon, so you don't want to go out there too early, hurt yourself and not be able to finish.' They say, 'Take your time, and whenever you come back, you'll be ready.'"
Hixon expects that to come by the second week of team camp. The first week's work begins Wednesday; it reconvenes for a second week on June 6.
"Definitely, because the way I felt, I wanted to be back two weeks ago," Hixon said. "The trainers know what they're doing, and I trust them, but that would definitely be perfect for me.
"They just want me to rehab it right now to make sure that no other injuries happen when I do go out on the field. Hopefully (this) week we'll see when they re-evaluate it."
Then he'll be able to get down to the work he wants to do -- with the benefit of his "mental reps" in tow.
"They say the mental part of the game in the NFL is a lot harder than the physical part, so hopefully all the mental reps I have to do right now will pay off down the road," he said.
|05-30-2006, 01:38 AM||#2|
Ring of Famer
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
Good for him to show some commitment regardless. It could be one of those things that make Shanny's decision harder come cut time.
|05-30-2006, 03:42 AM||#4|
Oreo Lucian Rockefeller
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Birmingham, AL
IDK, i really don't think he'll get cut unless he can be stashed on IR, if he shows potential in the return game & makes a few plays who's to say Charlie Adams or Todd Devoe is more worthy of a spot than a player who can do WR,PR & KR?
|05-30-2006, 08:20 AM||#7|
Ring of Famer
Join Date: Aug 2003