Coaches Clipboard V O L U M E
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Commissioner Ron Wyzynski, CEO Brian Hemmelgarn, Referee Chair Al Herbert, Webmaster, Events Michelle Hills, High Performance Tom Kohl, Tournament Dir. Rob Long, Sand/Outdoor Dir. Bill Zehler, Juniors Program Dir.
INSIDE THIS ISSUE: Remember to Train the Brain
Defensive Mental Skills
Offensive Mental Skills
Best Setter and Passer in Ideal Positions
Best Passer in Ideal Positions
Remember to Train the Brain Have you ever as a player felt you couldn’t miss or witnessed as a coach your team doing everything right? Sad part is, these occurrences for most of us are few and far between. Instead of wishing for them, can we as coaches prepare or even train our athletes for optimal performance? Most coaches mainly focus on physical training with little regard for mental training; the latter is as important if not more so than the former. Flow, or what most call “being in the groove” is when an athlete is both physically and mentally prepared and everything falls into place for them. This happens only when an athlete lets it happen rather than trying to make it happen. In other words, flow is a result, not an action. Many describe players who can do this as being mentally tough. These athletes seem to possess the ability to psych themselves up for
competition, manage their stress and remain in control of their emotions, concentrate intensely, and set challenging but realistic goals. In sum, they have the ability to visualize themselves being successful and then do what they visualized. An important key to enabling our players to perform at their peak level is motivation. Boys and girls both as individuals and as teams are stereotypically motivated toward goal achievement in different ways. Teams and players who are highly motivated athletes set high standards for themselves, elevating the level of play and inspiring their teammates and even opponents to greater levels of performance. A common theme I’ve noticed over the years is how boys are motivated by the performance of others while girls are motivated by the support of others. Another important component of mental training is exemplified by
the concept of horse blinders. Attentional skills are the abilities to focus on the task at hand and block out all distractions. In contrast, many players and even coaches lack the ability to block out distractions such as the crowd, officials or even the results of the last play. We know that success builds confidence—teach players to use goal achievement as fuel for reaching the next one. Coaches who don’t know how to help athletes develop necessary mental skills usually support the athlete with empathy and encouragement yet nothing specific, select another athlete who may be less talented physically but can perform better under pressure and may aggravate the problem by placing more pressure on the athlete to begin performing up to their capability. For more info, check out these books: “Sport Psychology for Coaches” and “The Mental Athlete”.
Defensive Mental Skills
Desire for Excellence in Training
Athletes should train as they compete, practically and efficiently, avoiding the problems of over-training and underrecovery.
Controlling Competitive Anxiety
Allows athletes to say in control, which is especially critical as the events get bigger and athletes become vulnerable to anxiety.
Controlling Anger and Frustration
Allows athletes to save energy for competition, control thoughts and stay on task, even when real problems exist.
Entergy Management (Raising Intensity)
Allows athletes to “ramp up” energy when the situation calls for it.
Energy Management (Recovery Between Efforts)
Allows athletes to use the recovery time available so they have needed energy at the finish.
Energy Management (Adjusting Energy)
Allows athletes to be aware of the correct energy level needed for a given situation and to make quick adjustments, up or down, for physical and mental readiness.
Recovery from Performance Setbacks
Allows athletes to “bounce back” quickly from mistakes, defeats or bad luck and yet retain positive and useful thoughts.
Focus Despite Distractions
Allows athletes to stay on task, keeping all five senses oriented only toward useful signals, even when all five senses could get pulled away from the task.
Mental Maintenance Skills
Allows athletes to be self-aware, noting changes and variations, making adjustments needed to keep thoughts simple and effective.
“If you want your players to be mentally prepared for the match, you have to mentally prepare them in practice.”
Mental Skill Training Involves: Goal Se ng = Know where you are and where you want to go including the steps on how to get there. Imagery = Visualiza on; Mentally prac ce specific skills and movements Relaxa on = Players must learn to how to relax. Coaches must learn this too. Anxious players become paralyzed via over‐analysis and therefore can’t perform. Energy = Op mally raising energy levels for op mal performance, not too high or too low. Self‐talk = I can vs. I can’t; I will vs. I won’t. Anxiety, doubt and fear cause nega ve self talk. Confidence, aspira on and determina on lead to posi ve self talk.
Offensive Mental Skills
Helps motivate athletes to improve skills and “battle” for the win in a tight contest.
Drive to Set and Achieve Goals
Helps athletes achieve personal bests, keeps intensity high and constantly improves the process of training and competing.
Allows athletes to see a path to success and keeps their thoughts simple during competition.
Athletes skilled in self-talk are aware of the language in their heads and actively adjust it to stay positive and actionoriented.
Helps athletes make decisions before competition so that during the event, they simply can execute rather than decide.
Ability to Commit
Allows athletes to give 100% during competition and lets them stay with new approaches long enough to see a benefit in training (such as changing technique).
Comfort with Risk
Athletes with this skill understand that taking risks at some events reaps rewards and that a winning approach sometimes requires a willingness to lose (fear of losing may prevent risk taking).
Relaxed Athletic Approach
When athletes are athletic, they are relaxed, mainly visual, looking for opportunities rather than danger and avoiding hesitation. They do not over-think their situations.
Confidence is the offensive skill that makes it easier to set high goals, see and believe success and execute good competition plans.
How to Mentally Train Your Players: * Players need to become aware of their mental strengths and weaknesses * Provide a rationale for learning skill * Provide info about what skill is and how it’s developed * Develop skill basics
* Extensive practice to overlearn skill * Simulate competitive situations to practice skill transfer * Simulate adversity to practice overcoming problem situations using mental tools and skills
* Integrate mental skills training concepts in competitive situations * Effectively deal with adversity and obstacles * Systematically evaluate and revise mental skills training program
Good athletes prac ce un l they get it right. Great athletes prac ce un l they can’t get it wrong.
OVR Coaching Education | Don Burroughs, Director | 426 South Walnut Street | New Bremen, OH 45869 | P/F: 419-629-8103 Email: [email protected]