I started getting good at basketball in high school. I was physically growing into a more athletic body and my hard work in the gym and weight room was finally paying off. I remember it being an exciting time as I made varsity as a freshman and was zeroing in on basketball being the one sport I was going to fully dedicate myself to.
Unfortunately, the girls around me didn’t share in my excitement, especially the ones who were slowly watching their ‘best’ status fade away, either because their 5’10” stature in middle school wasn’t really cutting it anymore or because the mall was more important to them than working on their jump shot.
So I remember that initial positivity about my success slowly disappearing and jealously, back-biting, and general nastiness taking its place.
My game slowly started getting worse as a result of this negativity. I’d stop shooting and focus only on passing to make other teammates happy. I’d keep my points...
One month ago I gave you a challenge: to break a bad habit. How have you fared?
My bad habit: negative thinking. My goal: Go caffeine and gluten-free and restart on the path to a regular exercise routine. The result? I’m not perfect, but I’m feeling pretty darn great.
My bad habit is negative self-talk. I say “is” because the habit isn’t completely eradicated.... yet, though I can already see and feel the benefits I’ve gained from omitting 90% of negative self-talk from my daily walk.
I not only feel better physically and mentally, but my positive self-talk has in turn made me, well, more positive, which makes the positive self-talk easier, which…
Well, you get the picture.
Our live webinar series, Coaching Female Athletes, ignited great discussion. We felt it would be an disservice not to share some of the questions we received from coaches that attended the webinar. The questions below highlight some of the biggest challenges that our coaches are facing in coaching their female athletes and the answers that Lindsey gave in our live webinar.
A: The really good news is that if your players are driven academically, they likely respond well to clear goals and measurements (like getting an A on a test). So you’ve got some good stuff to work with. But perhaps they aren’t naturally bringing that same mentality into practice. So you will have to create that for them.
If only I had a nickel for every time I heard that from a coach when they were asked, “What’s the difference between coaching men and coaching women?”
Which brings me to a question that has literally been nagging me for years:
This question is really tough for me because I have this knee-jerk emotional reaction that screams ‘Of course NOT!’
But then a quieter voice asks, ‘Hmm. Do we? And, if so, what can we DO about it?’
In my work with male and female athletes of all ages, I will say there are clear differences between the two. And two things stick out for me: Men somehow know that appearing confident is beneficial, even if it’s just a façade, and the ‘fake it till you make it’ principle really does work in regards to confidence.
But, that’s just my opinion.
We did what...
I often ask athletes what the difference is between feeling nervous before competition and feeling excited.
The responses I typically hear involve this idea of varying levels of confidence. Specifically, some think that feeling nervous comes from "hoping it all works out", while feeling excited comes from "expecting to be successful". In short: Excited is a positive mindset, while nervousness is a negative mindset.
They're not wrong.
But the biggest difference between feeling nervous and feeling excited is perception. After all, the chemical reaction in the brain is the same for both: the stress reaction.
When I played I always talked about being excited for big games. Nervousness felt like a weakness, it felt like opening the door to failure, it felt like inviting self-doubt in for afternoon coffee.
I don’t think I was ever taught to do this, to think...
Whether you’ve just recently graduated or you’re anticipating hearing those words in the near future, just know: It’s a good thing you’re an athlete.
College is tough, no doubt, but life after college is its own unique challenge. You’ve spent years making it a habit of getting to classes, taking exams, studying, going to practices scheduled by others, being directed by others (namely, professors and coaches) who would tell you what you need to do, when to do it and, sometimes, even how to do it.
That time has ended. YOU’RE in charge now.
Are you scared?
You shouldn’t be, because...
Look, we’ve already talked about how self-talk can impact your game, so now’s the time to think beyond sports and into your career life, post-graduation.
You’re an athlete. For years you’ve been learning skills that have...
We had the great pleasure to speak with Dr. Jenny Lind Withycombe about diversity among elite athletes. Dr. Withycombe, has over 15 years experience within the field of athletics as an athlete, coach, consultant, sport psychologist, and diversity and inclusion educator. Most notably, Dr. WIthycombe has worked with the NCAA, AMCC and the US Rowing team.
Dr. Withycombe often gets asked the question:
The simple answer is no. Relationships of any kind, outside of the team dynamic, can be detrimental; both sexual and friendship-based. The most important thing to remember is that you have to explain it isn’t because they are same sex but rather that it is a real threat to the team dynamic.
However, relationships are going to happen sometimes, and there's not much you can do about it. That's why it’s very important to be prepared for the situation.
Dr. Withycombe suggests creating a policy around inter-team relationships....
We had the great pleasure to speak with Dr. Jenny Lind Withycombe about diversity among elite athletes. Dr. Withycombe, has over 15 years experience within the field of athletics as an athlete, coach, consultant, sport psychologist, and diversity and inclusion educator. Most notably Dr. Withycombe has worked with the NCAA, AMCC, and the US Rowing team.
Dr. Withycombe often gets asked:
Dr. Withycombe found that often athletes and coaches who are openly gay see themselves as a risk to their program's reputation. Some coaches will 'play dirty' by steering recruits away from competitors' programs because of sexual orientation.
The important thing to remember is that sexuality or gender identity should never be a 'problem'. Concern yourself with the culture of the program and building an inclusive program. Build the kind of program where sexuality, gender, race, or religion is openly accepted.
Remind people that you are...
We had the great pleasure to speak with Dr. Jenny Lind Withycombe about diversity among elite athletes. Dr. Withycombe, has over 15 years experience within the field of athletics as an athlete, coach, consultant, sport psychologist, and diversity and inclusion educator. Most notably Dr. WIthycombe has worked with the NCAA, AMCC and the US Rowing team.
Dr. Withycombe often gets asked the question:
At Positive Performance Training, we believe strongly in self-reflection for athletes, coaches and even for teams. We also strongly believe in taking action to always be improving so we love Dr. Withycombe's answer to this question. She advises that the first step is to start out by thinking about what your program stands for. It isn’t a conversation about sexual orientation, it is about defining who you are as a team and what you stand for. Once you’ve defined the culture of your...
Old habits aren’t necessarily bad habits...but they can turn into them down the road.
I remember having to completely change my jump shot in high school. I had started working with a new coach who told me point blank, "Your set shot might work now in high school, but it’s going to get thrown out of the gym in college."
It was time to get worse before I could get better.
And so began the slow process of completely changing and unlearning a skill I’d practiced for over 10 years and relearning it all over again. One might look back and minimize it; after all, learning something new at 16 years old doesn’t sound like that big of a deal.
But I remember the experience pretty clearly: the resistance, the emotional pain, and the pretty much constant frustration. After all, the idea of working really hard and getting worse at something is a tough pill to swallow, even for a 16 year-old.
It was made even more difficult because I was...