Tanner Magnum’s QB Mindset

“It’s been cool to see how applicable the lessons in chess are to football. It exposes personality traits.” —Tanner Magnum on Poison Pawn’s chess training


The QB Podcast’s Quincy Avery and Brian Fitch sat down with Brigham Young University’s quarterback, Tanner Mangum. Mangum was recently a part of training for NFL’s Pro Day, led by Avery. Poison Pawn was part of this training day, integrating chess into speed training drills and showing players how to improve their decision-making process.

Mangum’s football journey is a unique one: after completing his first year greyshirting at BYU, he left to spend two years in Chile as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. After returning to BYU, he finished his first football season with 3,377 passing yards, along with 23 passing touchdowns and 10 interceptions, breaking countless BYU records and being named “Freshman of the Year” by the Touchdown Club of Columbus.

Mangum describes himself as “addicted to learning”. He’s always hungry and never satisfied when it comes to knowledge, both on and off the field. At Pro Day, Mangum soaked up as much chess training as he could. “That’s one of the things I noticed when Seth was out there teaching guys chess,” Brian Fitch comments. “I noticed how locked in you were. The board comes up and you’re like, ‘Yo, how do you do this? What does this do?’ You’re picking it up quickly. I notice those things just being an observer on the sidelines.”

“It’s been cool to see how applicable the lessons in chess are to football. It exposes those personality traits,” Mangum states.

Mangum believes the difference between a good quarterback and an elite quarterback is the mindset. “There are a lot of guys who can spin the ball, they can rip it, they have that talent. But the quarterback mindset is beyond the talent. It comes down to can you handle the responsibilities and pressures that playing quarterback brings with it. And by that, I mean leading a team. You become the face of a franchise, and not just anyone can do that. …You have to have a special type of mindset, a type of moxie and character that you have to carry with you.”

“And then, you’ve got to be able to handle the stresses of the game. The ball is in your hands every single play. If you can’t handle that stress and that attention being on you, it’s going to be tough playing quarterback. And from high school to college to the NFL, that stress becomes a constant thing that you just have to live with. There’s always going to be pressure and stress. You need to learn how to operate cooly and calmly under that pressure. And a lot of that is behind the ears. You have to have that mindset.”

To watch the full QB Podcast episode with Tanner Mangum, visit Outside The Pocket’s channel on YouTube

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