The great Vince Lombardi said, “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.” One issue with this is that winning is never guaranteed. That’s why we play the game. It turns out that celebrating and showcasing your team’s past accomplishments could be detrimental to this season’s efforts.
It’s not how you start; it’s how you finish. I often share this with teams. Unfortunately, sometimes you give up an early lead. The teams that are able to come back are the ones that don’t panic – easier said than done. Let me show you how to keep the wheels from coming off.
Athletes face a lot of pressure in sports today. They feel pressure to play at a high level and to earn playing time and scholarships. They feel pressure to recoup the investment their parents have made in travel ball and specialized coaching. Unfortunately, many athletes don’t recognize where the pressure is coming from or how to handle it.
Athletes can have a short fuse. When the game doesn’t go their way they get frustrated. Unfortunately, this frustration gets taken out on opponents, teammates, fans, officials, and equipment in aggressive ways. Depending on the team, this may be okay. What isn’t acceptable is letting frustration degrade performance. Help your athletes keep their emotions in check to perform their best.
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.”