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Depression and Athletes: A Coaches Guide

blog Sep 09, 2014

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...

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The #1 overlooked way to assess your players this preseason

blog Aug 19, 2014

Wouldn’t you love to know:

  • Which of your players lost their first touches due to nerves rather than technique?
  • Which of your players were more focused on the opponent rather than playing her role?
  • Which of your players spent more time thinking about your reaction to her mistakes rather than focusing on the next play?

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...

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3 ways to reduce freshmen athlete woes (and help you keep valuable recruits)

blog Aug 05, 2014

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

The transition

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:

  • New friends
  • New freedoms
  • New surroundings
  • Higher academic expectations
  • Higher...
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Why most athletes fail their grueling workouts - and how to fix it

blog Jul 15, 2014

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:

  1. Grueling workouts bring the confidence and toughness to push through pain and discomfort during competition.
  2. Intrinsic motivation is key in completing grueling workouts. This is especially true when the coach or team isn't around.
  3. Grueling workouts are critical to developing the right level of physical conditioning.
  4. Some athletes display a lot of anxiety before grueling workouts.
  5. As a coach, if an athlete can't handle a grueling workout, how can you expect them to compete when it matters?

KEY INSIGHT: As an athlete, it...

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Forget your athletes.... Coaches this one is for you!

blog May 25, 2014

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...

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5 Things to do in the offseason

blog Apr 20, 2014

In this article:

• Why NOW is the time to start improving for next season. • Learn the difference between rest and sleep. • Why your eyes just might be your most powerful motivational tool. • The human connection that can boost your performance.  

5 Things to do in the offseason

The best ways to maximize improvement during downtime


People are happiest when they’re improving. I’ve come to know that both as a top-performing athlete and as a normal, everyday person. Without improvement, there is no motion toward achieving goals; without goals… well, what’s the point of living?

The offseason is a great time to reflect on what your goals are and then run straight towards them. And, as you outline your goals—this plus that plus those equals goal achieved—remember that most athletes forget that resting is an essential part of that equation, so make sure to include rest in your offseason game plan. Figure out what it is you need...

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Off-season part 1: Do just 1 thing this off-season

blog Mar 20, 2014

The off-season: a time of renewal, of hope, and (most likely) of change as your seniors leave and underclassmen begin assuming new roles. Excitement ensues as you transition from small group fitness and conditioning exercises into full-on practice sessions. As you begin to review your training regimen, you might have ideas on what technically and tactically needs tweaking, or have resolutions on what you’ll teach this off-season.

Regardless of how your season finished, the score board has been reset and every program gets a fresh start.

But, if you’re like most coaches, it’s difficult to know where to start. With the myriad roles a coach truly has to juggle, sometimes you just want one thing – one key ingredient – to bring to your program that will give you the biggest bang for your buck.

Well, you’re in luck, because Positive Performance knows exactly what that one thing is. It’s a very simple mental training routine you may have heard of...

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Off-season Part 2: Why YOU (coaches) should do mental performance training

blog Mar 20, 2014

In the last article, we discussed how to enable higher performance in your athletes through Mental Training. But let’s not forget about Coaches. In our experience, coaches can be more stressed than their athletes and also need to invest in their own well-being to maintain high performance.

“Meditation allows doubts to surface so you can really let go of them.”

Why mentally train?

Coaches are high-performing too.

By and large, coaches are much like the athletes they train: They’re driven and have spent a lifetime working within a minuscule margin of error, thereby rendering them accustomed to high levels of stress. Coaches tend to have high standards for themselves and for what they personally expect out of their lives, both on the field and off. While they can choose to measure their ‘success’ in accomplishments or in overall satisfaction, these two measuring sticks can often seem at odds with one another.

All this constant measuring,...

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Jim Clem: Character traits & 6 pieces of advice for winning pitchers (transcribed)

Originally posted in article Jim Clem: Character Traits & 6 Pieces of Advice for Winning Pitchers, published February 26, 2015.

6 Pieces of Advice for Winning Pitchers: #1-3. Warm Up, Practice, & Write it Down!

6 Pieces of Advice for Winning Pitchers: #4. Positive Thinking

6 Pieces of Advice for Winning Pitchers: #5. Routine = breathing + visualizing

6 Pieces of Advice for Winning Pitchers: #6. Beware Your Choice in Music

Transcription of interview conducted by Lindsey Wilson, Positive Performance Training

 

Lindsey: So talk me through, yeah, and maybe give an example of an athlete that you worked with. If I was coming to you again and I was a pitcher and I was very talented, but really didn't know what I was doing, you know, maybe hadn't been coached, what are the routines that we would put in together, pre-game, during game, post-game. You know, what are the things that you teach most athletes, at least, most pitchers?

Jim: Okay. So we'll do an...

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Jim Clem: Top 3 Pitcher Hang-Ups (Transcribed)

Originally posted in article Jim Clem's Pitching Tips: Top 3 Pitcher Hang-Ups, published February 23, 2015.

Pitching Coach Jim Clem on his Top 3 Pitcher Hang-Ups

Transcription of interview conducted by Lindsey Wilson, Positive Performance Training

Lindsey: Well, speaking of learning I know I am and many of our clients are really interested in diving into pitching in particular. So if you would, take us into the mind state of a typical pitcher. What are their hang-ups, what things do they struggle with? And maybe even what personality characteristics do you typically see in a pitcher? I know it's really hard to classify every one.

Jim: Typically, I'd say just pitchers of all ages, they just need more work and preparation. And I don't think they totally understand necessarily what that entails, so I'll talk to them, I'll have, you know, I have different talks that I have with them each day. But I want to make sure that they understand that there's really four...

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