What is the Saban “Process”

College football fans have heard of Coach Saban’s Process but do you know what it is and can it work for you?

There are 2 ways in which an athlete can approach a goal: as a whole (big picture) or in parts (segmented). Big picture means that the athlete sees the end result in their head and makes that the goal. “I am going to win the US Open” as an example of a big picture goal. A segmented goal may also have a big picture, but instead of thinking of it, that athlete focuses on HOW he/she is going to achieve the goal. This is the difference between Outcome thinking and Process thinking. Outcome thinking has no plan and can cause great anxiety. It is hopeful thinking and even though it is fine to hope, that has nothing to do with actually moving towards the goal. Process thinking chops the goal down into small, achievable pieces. The athlete stays motivated day to day after the small goals have been met. Eventually, the big picture goal comes into focus and if the smaller goals had been met, the large goal then becomes possible. You can compare it to climbing Mount Everest. Thinking of the summit has nothing to do with getting to the top. Moving from base camp to the camp just above you will eventually lead you to the summit if the weather is right or you don’t get injured, or a million other things. That is why it is important to not get too invested in a big picture goal that involves a lot of things you cannot control. If the big picture becomes a “Do or Die” thing, that mindset can create crippling anxiety, which in turn may trigger the subconscious mind into activation (fight or flight). The lesson? If you have a big goal (I’m going to play in the NFL) keep it to yourself as a dream and focus on the day to day process of actually getting to the NFL. Dreams are great to have but can turn into fantasies if you have no actionable plan to achieve it.

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