Just last week I had prepared my 8th-grade football team for competition against another undefeated team. Our confidence was relatively high as we were at 3-0 and feeling good about our progress as a team thus far.
Despite this, I had noticed that I had not been as motivated and driven as I usually am as a coach. The team's energy was low, as practice and game prep appeared sluggish and mediocre at best. Concentration seemed to be an issue and mistakes and lack of focus was prevalent. I seemed a little down myself, as many life factors, (job, family, tackling to-do lists) seemed to affect my general overall health. We all have days and weeks like this, but this week seemed exceptionally off with a busy calendar and little rest.
I’m sure you have heard this before, but what does it really mean? It means to take time off and be average, or work different with the same intensity and be great.
A Champion or Peak Performer sees the regular season as the time to perform. The performance comes from muscle memory. The skills have been developed and are now ready for competitive play at game time. The Peak Performer does not have to consciously think about their game while in the middle of it. This "muscle memory" allows them to play instinctively, freely, and without hesitation or doubt.
The off-season is not the time to take time off and relax. Developing a high level of trust in your skills only comes from purposeful practice, where every activity is strategically designed to improve performance purposefully. This is done most effectively when not “distracted” by playing the game....
Being cut from a team is one of the most difficult situations for athletes to handle. It's also one of the most difficult situations for parents to deal with because our natural instincts are to want to step in and rescue them and take away the pain that they are feeling. Believe me, I understand! I am a parent!
Our kids are meant to learn this lesson to see how they are going to respond to challenges like this in the future. However, your role is crucial at this point. If you make excuses for them, or blame the coaches, or even belittle them for not being good enough, it can have a lasting effect on how they handle these types of challenges in the future.
Your role is not to try to fix it. Instead, it is to help guide them through the pain, embarrassment, doubt, and fears they have just experienced as a result of not making the team.
So, how do...
This year has been one for the history books, for sure. All of this quarantining has been a foreign territory for most of us and especially for our kids. Most of the parents I talk to have voiced their concern for their child and how their children are struggling with the emotional challenges that have been caused by the pandemic. The isolation, fears, and doubts are accompanied by irritable outbursts, not to mention the video game addiction that seems to be taking over our children!
It's normal for most parents to become concerned for their child's mental health, although the pandemic has taken it to a whole new level.
However, the oxygen mask analogy comes into play here. As parents, it is natural to try to take care of our children, often putting our own needs in the background. By doing that, we end up not taking care of ourselves or them. You need to put your own mask on first or you will be no good for your kids. We...
Wouldn’t it be great to never lose again? Or to allow disappointment to get you down? What if I told you that I have developed the secret that will allow you to never lose again and to turn disappointment into achievement? Would you be interested?
Actually, I can make that claim if you are willing to examine how you have viewed “winning and losing” and disappointment in the past. You see, life is a very funny teacher.
You typically don’t start off being able to accomplish great things. You have to lose before you can win. Example: you had to crawl before you walked. You didn’t just take off walking one day.
Can you remember anything you have ever done where you just did it and (POOF) you were the best? Probably not. We all have to lose before we can win. To have disappointment to appreciate achievement.
With that said, most of us tend to get sad, frustrated, and angry when...
“Shut up legs!” is a mantra made famous by cycling great Jens Voight. It seems to be the quintessential statement of mental toughness. If I say it and believe it, it shall be true. A finely tuned professional athlete might be able to will his way to tap into that last 5 or 10 percent of effort that makes the difference between victory or failure, but what about the rest of us?
I would argue that mental toughness is more complicated than it sounds. The easy definition, it seems, is when things get tough, buckle down and force your will. After two completed full Ironman triathlons in 2012 and 2014 and my first ever Did Not Finish (DNF) in 2016 at Ironman Cozumel, my understanding of toughness has shifted a bit.
For those of you who may not know, an Ironman is a triathlon made up of a 2.4 mile swim followed by 112 miles cycling and then a full marathon (26.2 miles). In my first two races, I faced some really dark times and wanted to quit at multiple stages of the race....
In the last blog post I discussed the importance of consistency and how it is the one thing that separates the very best in every sport from the rest. The best athletes in the world are able to perform at a consistently high level day in and day out, week in and week out for months and even years. How can you learn to be consistent like the Pro's?
The Inverted U Theory is based on the premise that athletes can attain a state of mental readiness that will allow them to perform at their peak on a consistent basis. The inverted U explains how some people need “bang on your chest" (often football or rugby) type preparation while others need a “quiet isolation and or meditation" (Chess). Most athletes fall somewhere in the middle. The key is to find your individual “FLOW” zone.
The graphic above depicts the "sweet spot" for optimal performance. The purpose of a pre-competition routine is...
I have worked with athletes at all levels of sport, from juniors to collegians to pros and Olympians, and a major area that I help them to achieve is consistency in their competitive performances. So many athletes have big swings in their performances from great one week to mediocre, to even lousy the next week.
In this two-part blog post, I will first discuss the importance of consistency in everything you do. Part 2 will focus on bringing that same level of consistency into preparing for your competition and how to construct your routine.
Consistency is the one thing that separates the very best in every sport from the rest. The best athletes in the world are able to perform at a consistently high-level day in and day out, week in and week out for months and even years.
Performing at a consistently high level under the most challenging conditions is the goal toward which I believe all athletes, whatever your ability or sport, should aspire to attain. ...
Many athletes dream of being the best, but few have what it takes to BE the best. What separates the best from the rest? The best isn't always the strongest, fastest, or the one in the best shape. Studies have shown that "the best" is almost always the one that thinks he/she is the best. Champions almost always have what I call a Gold Mind. The mind of a winner. The one with the fewest doubts and the biggest belief in themselves.
How does someone develop this attitude? It doesn't just happen. It takes work, lots of work. Developing a Gold Mind is knowing in your heart that you have done everything you can to be the best. Knowing that you have worked harder in all aspects of your sport. Gold Minds are not a natural quality in any one person. Like anything else, you have to develop this skill. Some key factors that I have found that work to develop a Gold Mind are: