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Georgia Bulldogs Ready to Become a Dynasty with Leadership Retreats, Rugby, and Sports Psychology

Outside of Greenville, South Carolina, the Georgia Bulldogs have discovered a new approach to building a successful football program. The team has implemented an annual two-day leadership retreat at Mill Pine, a 355-acre tract of land. This initiative, developed by Georgia sports psychologist Drew Brannon and coach Kirby Smart, aims to foster personal and professional growth among a core group of about 30 players. Unlike a typical football Saturday at Sanford Stadium, Mill Pine offers participants an opportunity to “reengage with their purpose” through various development sessions.

According to Brannon, what the Bulldogs are doing is unique and not something that many other teams have implemented. As the co-founder of Amplos, a performance psychology company, Brannon specializes in helping athletes and corporations achieve their full potential. The Bulldogs’ commitment to employing a sports psychologist like Brannon demonstrates their dedication to gaining a competitive edge in college football.

Georgia’s pursuit of becoming the first team in the wire service era to win three consecutive national championships has influenced their approach to the game. The coaching staff and players are fully aware of the challenges that come with such a historic feat. Their focus is on combating complacency by recruiting individuals who are passionate about football and embracing the concept of being part of something greater than themselves. To inspire and reinforce this mindset, Georgia has drawn inspiration from the All Blacks, New Zealand’s highly successful rugby team, known for their humility and dedication to personal growth.

The Bulldogs have embraced the All Blacks’ philosophy of leaving things in a better state than they found them and continually striving for improvement. The team’s commitment to humility is exemplified by their mantra “Better never rests.” The Georgia players have fully embraced this approach, evidenced by their dedication to weekly offseason “skull sessions” and their willingness to adopt new ideas and techniques from the world of rugby.

The results of Georgia’s new approach are remarkable. The team has achieved a 33-1 record in their last 34 games, and their 29 wins over the past two seasons tie a major college record. Head Coach Kirby Smart has a 73-10 record since 2017, and the team’s dominance was evident in their 65-point victory in the 2023 College Football Playoff National Championship, the largest margin of victory in any bowl game ever.

While the odds may be stacked against a three-peat, Georgia’s schedule for the 2023 season presents a favorable path. With only a few significant challenges, such as a trip to Auburn and a game against Tennessee, the Bulldogs have a strong chance of making the playoffs even if they experience a loss or two. However, the team remains focused on maintaining intrinsic motivation and not being swayed by external narratives or entitlement. With a foundation built on player development and a strong defensive lineup, the Bulldogs have the potential to establish themselves as one of the greatest dynasties in college football history.

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