We’ve all heard the ancient axiom, “know thyself.” For athletes, this is a crucial component of mental toughness and consistent performance. How can you, as a coach, help your athletes develop a greater sense of self-awareness, especially in the moment?
Coaches and athletes look for every legal edge over their competition. However, you may be putting too much emphasis on new innovations. Sleep is a foundation of human performance. It has the potential to fuel or wreck an athlete’s performance. It may not be flashy, but your athletes may not be getting the sleep they need to have an edge on and off the field.
Thoughts matter. Thoughts drive performance. An athlete’s thoughts direct her emotions, physical state, and behavior. Unfortunately, many athletes battle with counterproductive, discouraging thoughts – worries, doubts, and fears. Coaches can help athletes take control of their thoughts. Start by encouraging athletes to never say “don’t.”
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.