Athletes are often sabotaged by their own worries, doubts, and fears. Feeling threatened is among the worst. When athletes view their circumstance as a threat their confidence goes out the window. They get nervous. Consequently they play tight, hesitant, and weak. What if you could help your athletes turn those threats into opportunities?
By now most athletes have heard of visualization. Many have even tried it – picturing making the big play, winning the championship, or hitting a home run. Visualization is a powerful tool for optimizing an athlete’s performance. The problem is that most athlete’s visualizations are dull, quiet, and still. The most powerful visualization is vivid, dynamic, and immersive.
At this time of year we tend to look back and review the highlights from the past 12 months. One of my favorite parts of this review is identifying what coaches, leaders, and parents (people just like you) found most helpful from my blog this year. As someone who loves consolidated lists of tips and resources, I thought I’d share with you my own Top 10 list from 2016.
At nearly every level of sports, practice time is regulated. The NFL is a solid example of this. Many coaches believe this is making it harder to develop young players, refine skills, and get their teams on the same page. Despite these limitations, coaches can use the sport psychology skill of imagery to help make the most of the practice they do get.
In many sports, athletes spend more time between their ears (thinking) than they do playing. This reality can wreck havoc on an athlete after they make a mistake. Many beat themselves up, get down on themselves, and lose confidence. What they need is a reset routine – a systematic process to help athletes “let it go” after a mistake and keep their heads in the game.
Sports fans witnessed history in this year’s October Classic. The Chicago Cubs broke their 108 year World Series Championship drought. They did so in dramatic fashion and displayed all that we love about sports on the biggest stage in baseball. While there was certainly exceptional play on the diamond, I am most interested in what the Cubs have done behind the scenes to build a championship organization. I believe every team can learn something from how the Chicago Cubs select, train, build, and field their team.
Adversity is inevitable in sports. However, as many have said before, our greatest challenge is ourselves. A slump is merely one example of this. For athletes a slump is a downward trend in their performance outcomes. With the wrong mental approach, a slump can feel like a black hole in a player’s career.
Robert Horry, NBA champion, said, “Pressure can burst a pipe, or pressure can make a diamond.” How an athlete responds to the pressure of being on the verge of victory often decides who comes out victorious. Why is it that some athletes seize the moment while others burst like a pipe? An athlete’s mentality makes all the difference.