As much as I know you’d all love to read another quarterback piece from me, the rest of the staff here at Niners Nation has that covered (at least until my pod drops this afternoon).
For now, let’s focus on the second biggest punching bag last year for the Niners, Mike McGlinchey. McGlinchey himself has made no secret of the fact that he ended up in a dark place last season due to poor play and the isolation of COVID-19 protocols.
The whole process started with time away from football and McGlinchey reaching out to friends for help. Notre Dame Head Coach Brian Kelly and former teammate Joe Staley were frequent sounds boards for the tackle, who also hired mental conditioning coach Derin McMains after a recommendation by 49ers head of player health and performance Ben Pederson.
According to McGlinchey, their conversations cover a lot of ground but center on where McGlinchey allows his mind to go at the moments that matter most.
It’s third-and-12 with the game on the line, is McGlinchey thinking about what happens if he allows a sack? Or is he locked in on doing his job and executing his technique? The primary objective has been to remove the worry about negative outcomes and committing to what it takes to do his job effectively.
“The biggest thing, the thing that separates you at this level, it’s your mind but it’s really your focus,” McGlinchey said. “So, where can you put yourself in the hardest of moments and where can you put yourself at the toughest time in the game?”
It’s great to see that Mike recognize that he needed help and lean on his support system to put him in touch with someone who specialized in mental health. Hopefully, stories like this empower more people to do the same thing.
From a football standpoint, this can only be a good thing. After what he put on film in 2020, teams will test McGlinchey early and often this season - particularly in high-leverage situations. Hopefully, McGlinchey can take a big step forward this season between the physical changes he made this offseason and a better frame of mind.
Other topics in today’s episode
- Kyle Shanahan knows who the Week 1 QB will be but isn’t telling
- Instead, Jimmy Garoppolo tells for him
- The 49ers get key players back at practice, and maybe one new coach?