There are examples all around us. Two NFL coaches collapsing in a single weekend last fall. The Rutgers men’s coach ‘snapping’. Women’s basketball coaches being downed by health issues in recent years.
While it’s easy to point to these health issues and blame stress, that’s not quite the whole picture.
Stress is actually really good for the body… that is, as long as it’s administered in the proper amount. It’s a very similar concept to lifting weights: stressing muscles to get them to recover stronger and, therefore, making them work better for us.
The problem arises when we forget about recovery. When we lift weights without allowing for recovery, the end result is physical injury. Just as overdoing physical exercise can lead to physical injury, overloading the mind with more than it can handle leads to a variety of both visible and non-visible problems.
Athletics are stressful....
If you don't think your anxiety and stress impact your physical health, think again." - Kris Carr
In our previous article—Coaches: Are You Good Stressed or Bad Stressed?—we described the difference between distress and eustress, and then listed three ways you could tell if you were stressing yourself appropriately, namely
So, you’ve spent the last few days creating a list of things that cause you distress and eustress. Great. Now what? Well, it's time to take action and
Sounds fun, doesn’t it? Relieving stress by breaking things? Ahhh... if only it were that easy (and reckless). What we mean by “breaking apart” is slightly less than literal.
Most stressors are not stressors until we interpret the as...
We all want to achieve more in life - being a better coach, winning a championship, reducing stress, making more money, etc.
How do you get there? Typically, we start by goal setting. We figure out what we want, write that on a piece of paper and commit to it. Recently, after my wife had a baby, we set the family goal of getting back in shape.
Guess what - it didn't work. After a few false starts, our goal seemed too difficult and the road too long. Why? We made the mistake of focusing on outcome-based goals, rather than process goals.
Setting the right type of goals is just as important as what goals you set. As a coach, how often do you set goals that aren’t attainable for yourself or your team? Or see your athletes struggle to follow the steps needed to hit their goals?
While setting the goal of winning the division championship is great, if you lose the...
We talk with a lot of coaches about inconsistency. In fact, I’d go so far to say this is the #1 issue that we’ve seen this year. As an athlete, I remember being frustrated with my team’s and my own inconsistency. We’d often ask ourselves:
While the competition was part of it, I’ve realized that a big part of the problem was arousal management. We never effectively nor proactively managed our arousal level.
Your “Arousal Level” is your state of readiness and refers to your physical, emotional and mental state. In simple terms, it is a measure of your internal energy level (also known as butterflies). It includes psychological (anger, confidence, fear, nervousness, aggression, etc.) and physiological (pulse, breathing, temperature, etc.) elements. The...
Athlete Anxiety is one of the primary causes of performance mishaps, especially when the game is on the line. Regardless of what sport you coach, once the competition begins, it is up to the athletes. You’ve spent months, maybe years training them. They are physically ready but can they make the big play when the chips are down? Unfortunately, most athletes aren't ready to handle the game winning shot or save the day. Why? Because they haven’t acclimated to the pressure of big moments.
"Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterward." - Vernon Law
Imagine for a second that you are a softball coach. Your team has performed up and down most of the season but has really turned it on lately, beating some teams you had previously lost to. Somehow you and your program find yourselves in the conference championship game. Early in the game, your team got up early, but your opponent, a...
The suicide of Robin Williams (and other great talents over the last years) is a frank reminder of how devastating depression can be. Depression doesn't care about how successful you are, how much people like you, or how great an athlete you are. It sneaks up on people, and most of us never know that someone was depressed until it is too late. Depression and athletes are a common pairing that coaches need to be aware of.
A study by Georgetown University of current and former college athletes revealed that 17% of those currently in an athletic program suffered from depression symptoms. This is a little below the estimate that 25% of all college students experience depressive symptoms. What's worse is the data that suggests that 75-85% of these students never seek any help. If you're a coach in a college athletic program, chances are high that several of your athletes are suffering from depression. And that's critical because not only can depression negatively affect...
Wouldn’t you love to know:
The excitement of the new season with your team is on display each and every training session. The hustle, sweat, and sound of tackles echoing across the field brings a smile to your face and puts a spring in your step. As you teach, encourage, and drive your players through the rigors of two-a-day practices, you begin to see some strengths crop up and weakness appear up and down the roster. As you begin to work on possession technique, defensive shape, and attack movements it becomes clear that progress is being made. But how much? Or rather: Is it enough? Does the on-field progress match your expectations? Is each and every player...
Every year, coaches have a brand new class of incoming freshmen. They look at these kids and hope that their athletes can make the transition to college. They’ve invested an enormous amount of time recruiting and yet we all know that some of these athletes won’t make it. Maybe they drop out or you lose one or more seasons as they adjust. There are a few simple things coaches can do to improve the chances that their athletes will successfully transition to college.
"Hope is not a strategy." - Vince Lombardi
While today’s athlete (sometimes referred to as Milennials, the Global Generation, or Echo Boomers) is far different from athletes of old, there is one aspect of their experience as student-athletes that is no different—they are in the midst of perhaps the most transition-filled time of their lives. Consider all the changes experienced by incoming athletes:
Demanding training regiments, such as a fitness test or explosive HIIT(High Intensity Interval Training) programs, can take a real toll on an athlete’s mind. Grueling workouts are, by definition, brutal, intense and VERY, VERY physically uncomfortable.
We recently sat down with coaches who use Positive Performance Training to understand what their athletes faced with grueling workouts. Here are the 5 common themes they identified:
KEY INSIGHT: As an athlete, it...
As we approach summer, with another sports season on the horizon, I challenge you to schedule (if you haven’t already) some reflective, deep-thinking time. Think of it as quality time with yourself. For me, this is often done at my family’s beach house where there is no television, no Internet and no cell phone reception.
In between walks on the beach searching for pebbles, falling asleep in the sun and planning my next seafood meal, I let my brain ‘surf’.
Brain surfing is something we all do- it’s the daydreaming, thought-in, thought-out feeling we get when we let our mind wander. It can be incredibly healing as well as give you some critical feedback and connection with your true self. Putting it on the calendar ensures that you take that time.
And to give your brain a head start, here are 3 activities to get you into this mind-space:
1. Do Art! Even taking a pen and paper and doodling can awaken your mind’s creative center. Using your hands to...