It’s football playoff time

It’s football playoff time, and the media is full of stories about why someone is successful and what makes a player great.

Trent Dilfer was a Super Bowl champion quarterback and, in his retirement, makes a living coaching high school quarterbacks.  One of his students was Tua Tagovailoa, the freshman quarterback who came in to engineer the Alabama comeback in the National Championship game.

Dilfer said he wasn’t surprised at Tua’s success.  He cited the substantial experience Tua has playing at an early age and his ability to receive coaching and improve quickly.

If you watched the game, Tua made a huge mistake right before he made the play to win the game.  On first down, he moved backed for a pass and against a substantial rush from the Georgia line, was sacked for a 16-yard loss.  The criticism was immediate.  You don’t take a loss like that.  You throw the ball away.

Before the critics could quit speaking, Tua threw a big touchdown pass to a streaking receiver.  It was a big play.

Dilfer, who tracks statistics of his students, said the touchdown wasn’t surprising either.  He said Tua has a high PACE rating.  PACE stands for Plays After Critical Errors.  Dilfer created the statistic because he has noticed that great quarterbacks like Peyton Manning and Tom Brady have a tendency to bounce back from errors with productive plays that counteract the errors.

“Those guys are usually better after making a critical mistake,” says Dilfer.  He suggests that it locks in their concentration and kindles their competitive fire.

Some people let an error take them off their game. They get mad.  They have to ruminate a bit while they get over it.  They feel sorry for themselves.  They can’t get back to the task until they have had time to mourn.

People with great PACE have short memories.  They know that failure isn’t fatal.  They have the experience of having to redeemed mistakes in the past and know they can do it again.  That belief is frequently rewarded.

When you have made a mistake, be known for PACE.