In my experience with literally thousands of athletes, I’ve typically come across two main types of athletes:
1. The athletes that are the same on and off the field in regards to their personality and characteristics. (more common)
2. Athletes that are remarkably different on the playing field and off. (less common)
This is what I mean. An athlete can be shy off the field and really turn it on when the whistle blows. Or they can be sort of the same; introverted in the classroom, on the field, in the locker room etc. The same is true for more extroverted, bigger personality types. Some stay the same whether they are competing or not. Some are the life of the party but sort of fade back when playing their sport.
The shy, introverted athletes are the ones I want to focus on today. Specifically, the ones that are more reserved in their personal life, BUT would play better if they were consistently more aggressive on the field.
As summer officially begins, I’m working on finding space in my life to work on me. It’s not easy. It seems there is always something else to do that needs my attention. And while working on me is rewarding on one hand, it’s also uncomfortable on the other. In many ways, its just plain easier to send emails and keep busy with the million to-dos I have piling up.
So why do it at all?
As a coach myself, there is nothing more valuable than sitting on the other side of the table with my coach- answering the hard questions, being held to difficult standards, experiencing the awkward silence before I tell my truth about something. But those insights are pure gold in a quest of self-improvement and ultimately it helps me empathize with, understand and teach my students in an authentic way. In other words, it gives me credibility; I am practicing what I preach.
If we ask it of others, we must require it of ourselves.
And so, this summer, I challenge you to take the time to...
The dreaded slump. Is there anything worse?
Whether you‘re the athlete in the middle of it, frustrated because you don’t know where to turn, or a coach, parent, or teammate watching from the sideline and feeling helpless, slumps suck!
The truth is, it doesn't matter how talented or experienced you are,
In the past three days, I’ve worked with two athletes experiencing slumps. Unfortunately, coaching athletes out of their slumps isn’t unusual. Far from it. Slumps are very common, and they don’t discriminate; they hit every kind of athlete, no matter their sport, gender, seniority, age, or skill. Here are the stories of my two latest slump-stricken clients:
Jack is a 17-year-old baseball player who had an amazing junior year on the plate. He batted over .300 and set his sights on a college scholarship. Then senior year came and he experienced a few rough at-bats, starting worrying about that college scholarship, and...
No one wants to hear about
Athletes like YOU have amazing stories of struggle and loss. Stories that make the greatest difference don’t always come from Olympians. Take, for instance, the story of the sophomore offensive tackle, Jonathan Meldrum, who battles depression and “remembers the scrimmage drill that had him considering suicide.”
That’s a REAL story that might help the 31% of undergrad students who suffer depression feel less alone and more hopeful.
And I know you have a story like that: one that can make a BIG difference to someone out there.
Likewise, you have amazing lessons you’ve learned from your experiences. If you can share those with each other (maybe not right after a loss, but after a time), you can help one another...
This article was originally posted on ESPNW.com
College coaches want to see recruits who are mentally tough. Recruiting athletes who can handle disappointment and frustration, who compete fearlessly. They don't care if you make a mistake, but they do care how you react to that mistake. They watch closely to see who can deal with negative feedback from a coach or a referee. They watch how a player reacts to pressure during the final minutes -- her play selection, decision making and leadership -- more than whether they make or miss a last-second shot, serve or pitch. They pay attention to how a player treats her teammates in the midst of adversity. They see who plays to win, even when they lose.
With the first of the recruiting periods on the horizon, I thought I'd dedicate this column to what college coaches will be looking for in gyms, pools, and fields across the country this summer.
I called up a few of my Division I coaching friends to ask them...
As mentioned in our previous article on highlighting National Nutrition Month, nutrition isn't just about the food we do or don’t eat. It’s about that and how we treat our bodies overall to achieve optimal health, including but not limited to exercise, sleep, and mental health.
Eating disorders and disordered eating (when there are signs of an eating problem without adherence to a specific disorder) span three of these four categories – food, exercise, mental health – and so deserve our undivided attention. Add to that the occurrence of eating problems in athletics and you’ve got a coaching game changer.
According to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), about 33% of male athletes in weight-class and aesthetic sports are affected by an eating disorder, whereas estimates of almost double that (62%) have been predicted for women participating in those same sports.
That’s a minimum of 1/3 of athletes in weight-class and...
March is National Nutrition Month. It’s a month for stepping back and contemplating how we eat, what we eat, and our overall health in general. According to the official website, “[the Nutrition Month] campaign focuses attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits.”
Coaches know proper nutrition is of utmost importance to both themselves and their athletes. But the dark side of nutrition isn’t only in the excess fats, sugars, and alcohol that we (try to) stay away from. Some of the greatest nutritional dangers are those not talked about; the psychological and mental problems associated with food.
As you go about your time as a coach, one thing you should be very aware of and constantly on the lookout for is:
While athletes in certain sports such as figure skating, gymnastics, swimming, or ballet are at a far greater predisposition to developing eating disorders,...
What New Year’s Resolution can help you be happier, healthier and less stressed?
We've all tried the resolutions to eat better, exercise more, watch less TV. Blah blah blah. This year, why not try something different? Something that can help you be happier, healthier and less stressed. Even better, it’s something that is actionable and concrete; and it can be done in less than 10 minutes a day.
So for your resolution this year, join coaches from all over the country for our popular 5-Day Coaches Meditation Challenge? After all:
"Studies have shown that meditation can cause parts of the brain associated with learning and memory to grow in size and those connected with stress and anxiety to shrink."-Goldin, P. R., & Gross, J. J.
Plus, our challenge is FREE! It's part of our mission to help coaches and athletes be better in all they do.
We just completed a survey of 137 coaches and saw that the majority of teams don’t use a structured and consistent program. Instead, they rely on homegrown solutions, guest speakers, or books to guide them. These tools, while with their merits, rarely deliver meaningful and measurable long-term results.
While most coaches and athletes understand the importance of the mental game, it previously has been very difficult to implement a structured & comprehensive mental training program. It involved a lot of trial and error and often times required the coaches and organization to first learn and then develop a program. Doing so typically takes a few years to build and most organizations forgo this investment and suffer from under-performance issues, low confidence, and inconsistency in their teams and players.
Just like any other skill, mental training should be as structured and methodical as any type of physical training. It’s a simple equation,...
Now that you've had a few days to create your focus lists and put those 80% efforts into practice, I want you to stay encouraged by knowing what you can expect by maintaining diligence in working toward your goals.
Applying focus in the way described in Focus for Coaches: Part 2 may seem extreme at first, but, as you do it consistently, you will begin to save time and eliminate wasted effort. You will be increasingly present and focused in each moment as you work toward your goals. When unexpected events happen, your clear priorities will help you make a strategic, rather than reactive, decision in response. Your focused plan will also help you say no to responsibilities or opportunities that are outside its scope.
A Simple Barometer: Ask yourself, “Does this task fit in with my priorities?” If not, it may be time to reevaluate your plan of action and revisit Article 2.
Because you do not operate alone, communicate your areas of focus with...