Throughout the past football season. some of us followed Phil Dawson's progress. (Side note: The others are New England Patriots fans.)
In early December, Dawson was responsible for the final score against Seattle and named NFC Special Teams Player of the Week for his four-field-goal performance.
After that game, Phil Dawson,was named the NFC’s Special Teams Player of the Week again against the Phoenix Cardinals. ... He centered himself and kicked the winning field goal again.
The head coach thought quite highly of his performance. Statistically, his scoring record was greater than the quarterback.
A few months later, The San Francisco Forty Niners re-signed him for another season for his previous season successes.
The 2013 Post
Everyone prepares for a competitive situation in their own way. Some mediates. Others either talk and wait or practice their tactical routines. Phil Dawson of the San Francisco Forty Niners strategizes his next game time situation by studying the weather reports and practices his kicks.
Dawson, 38, routinely mines data from Weather.com, AccuWeather.com and WeatherBug.com.
“I’m pretty psycho, I’ve got to admit,” he said. “It’s a borderline problem.”
Dawson’s history in wind, sleet and horizontal-blowing snow became relevant when he signed with the 49ers in March. Dawson’s new home stadium, Candlestick Park, is known for its swirling winds that mess with field-goal attempts, and kickers’ heads.
But Dawson has been there. Endured that. He’s played 204 of his 215 career games outdoors, with 108 coming at the Browns stadium, which is perched on the shores of blustery Lake Erie.
Dawson has played 12 percent of his career games in Cleveland in December. The average forecast for the city in the final month of the year: High of 30.9 degrees with 12-mile-per-hour winds and .38 inches of snow fall (that’s from climate-zone.com, Phil).
... Despite consistently weathering less-than-ideal conditions, Dawson ranks ninth in NFL history in field-goal percentage (84.0) and third in percentage from 50-plus yards (70.6). Seventeen months removed from his 40th birthday, he’s improving with age: He ranked second in the NFL in field-goal percentage (93.5) in 2012 en route to his first Pro Bowl and has drilled 14 of 15 attempts from 50-plus yards since 2011.
The 49ers believe they’ve upgraded after six-time Pro Bowler David Akers, 38, who was cut in March, endured his worst season in 2012. Dawson has missed 14 attempts (93 of 107) since 2009, one more than Akers missed in last year’s final 14 regular-season games.
Given his sustained success, Dawson is optimistic he can handle the inevitable surprises during the 49ers’ final season at The Stick.
PHILD“I think those experiences can only help, but they’re no guarantee,” Dawson said. “So I’ve still got to put the work in. I’ve got to wear out Weather.com like I always do trying to figure out hourly forecasts and wind directions. Has it rained that week? Is the field going to be soft? Is it going to be firm? All that kind of stuff. I’ve got to do my homework.”
Dawson did some advance Stick scouting in the offseason, visiting the stadium several times to get more acquainted after only playing two career games in San Francisco. In 2003, Dawson missed his only attempt, a 48-yarder, at Candlestick. In 2011, he made his only kick, a 52-yarder. Not surprisingly, Dawson recalls that he kicked in ideal conditions during his previous visits to the stadium.
“The weather’s been perfect,” Dawson said. “I’m still holding out hope that I’m bringing that with me. Lord knows I’ve played in rough stuff elsewhere.”
Dawson has also endured rough seasons, from a team perspective. He’s appeared in just one postseason game and the 49ers’ recent success was alluring when he weighed his free-agent options.
Now, the weather wonk who has kicked in all elements is eager to experience playoff conditions for the first time since 2003.
“I’m more looking forward now to kicks that are more team-centered, rather than personal accomplishments,” Dawson said. “It’s been communicated to me that’s why I’m here.”
Assessing the Process of Phil Dawson
On the field, Mr. Dawson operates without any gadget. His research already told him what would the weather be at that game day and at that specific time. Dawson knows the direction and the momentum of the wind at any part of the football field at any specific moment during the game and methodically follows his sequence of "readiness to implementation" with no hesitation.
He assesses by intuitively focusing on the range, the wind direction, the wind speed (by looking at the flags), the temperature, and humidity.
The first step of Positioning is the maneuvering toward the right place where Dawson begins the process of visualization while synchronizing his breathing with the projected execution. He then pre-positions his kick to the ready position while being mindful of the wind direction and the location of the yellow-colored goal posts.
This step begins when he scores the field goal and after the play is over. His team becomes more confident with him. In a climate-challenging situation, they know that there is a positive chance that he will score the field goal.
Influence always comes from a well-honed assessment and well-planned positioning. Execute the influence is the endpoint of the process
To an outsider, it looks simple. But, Mr. Dawson have spent many hours, preparing himself for all types of complex-driven competitive situation. But nothing is ever simple especially in a highly stressed, high reward situation where there are other multi-components that also allowed the kick to be effective.
The Questions of the Day
Regardless of the situation, do you assess, position and influence your strategic situation with a script?
Like Phil Dawson, are you willing to spend the time assessing the specifics of your situations or bonding with your teammates?
Remember, victory love preparation.
Maneuvering and Prevailing
in a Complex Situation
Compass Rule: The time that it takes to assess, and position is inversely proportionally to that the time it takes to influence.
By realizing the complexity, the risk, the uncertainty and the volatility of a given situation, the successful strategists take their time to assess their situation systemically. After a few sessions of intense preparation, the practice of implementing the "assess, position and influence" steps becomes automatic in a "real-time" competitive situation.
The process model of Assessing, Positioning and Influencing requires absolute act of planning, preparation and practice. Do you have the time, the discipline and the drive to do that?
From our experience, assessing, positioning and influencing through a script enables the implementer to become psychologically methodological. With practice, one could becomes subtle in one's own action.
Do you ever methodically assess the targeted terrain before implementing your action?
Do you make selective assessment a daily habit?
Side note: The key to building this habit begins with the act of centering.