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COMMUNITY BLOG: How To Compete At Your Best (Regardless Of Your Opponent)

You’re midway through the season and you’re going up against a team with a far worse record. Last time you played this team, you OUTplayed them. Your team is going into the game confident (maybe even a little cocky) and all-but certain they’ll get that W. From every angle, this game should be a shut out. 

But as the game progresses, you notice:

  • Your athletes are making careless mistakes
  • You’re team is getting intercepted/rebounded/fouled out
  • Tempers are running high
  • Your team is inconsistent - timid one moment, overly aggressive the next

As the game continues, tensions rise high and frustration, disbelief, even a little panic bubbles to the surface. 

At the end of the game, you’ve lost… or maybe you’ve won. The score isn’t really the point. The point is that you played poorly.

You played down to your opponent. 

When we asked our Mental Training for Coaches Facebook group, “What do you do when your team...

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Performance killers: Not managing athletes' arousal levels

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:

  • Why would we play great one half and poorly the next?
  • Why did I score 30 points one game and 10 the next?
  • Why was I ready for the big game and lackluster for a minor game?

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.

What is arousal?

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...

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