Tag Archives: confidence

Don’t Take Yourself Out of the Game

21 Apr

As an athlete, consistency is important.  Consistency of effort, preparation, and practice leads to consistency of performance.  But, despite our best efforts, athletes at every level experience performance slumps.  There will be  some games when your shots are just not falling.  How will you deal with it?

There are some things that are under your control every time you take the court.  Attitude is one of them and, perhaps, the most important.  You decide if and how you let a missed shot or turnover affect your next possession, or the rest of your game.  Although it may be easier said then done, a positive mental approach (and, sometimes, a short memory) is critical to athletic performance success.

Effort is another area that shouldn’t be impacted by your level of play.  Keep hustling.  Continue to “play hard, play smart, and play together” (Dean Smith, former University of North Carolina men’s basketball coach).  Don’t allow a missed shot or bad pass to be an excuse to give anything less than 100% when you’re on the court.  Focus on the aspects of your play that aren’t susceptible to slumps, like defense, boxing out, and rebounding.

Don’t allow a performance slump to take away your aggressiveness, confidence, or energy.  You’ve worked hard to get to this point.  Keep believing in yourself and maintain a high intensity level.  Draw on positive past experience to fuel your thoughts.  Keep working hard, stay positive, and good things will happen.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Mental Preparation is the Key

8 Feb

joey-votto-smi2[1]Every athlete knows that physical tools are important.  Strength, speed, agility, and athleticismand the commitment to the development of each — are integral to success in virtually every sport.  Factor in sport-specific skill development (for example, basketball ball-handling and shooting), and you’re on your way to building a strong foundation.

Equally important is your mind, and its ability to drive your body.  Mental preparation, focus, and confidence are all implicated in your success and attainment of your goals.  Generally, your limits will be those you set for yourself.  Here are some tips to improve performance and push through those self-imposed limitations through mental preparation.

Have a plan

I’m always surprised by athletes, especially at the higher levels, who “just play.”  That is, they don’t really have a game plan.  Situational preparation leads to successful execution.  A baseball player should go to the plate with a plan, depending on the score, inning, opposing tendencies and trends, number of outs, baserunners, pitch type and location, etc.  Having a plan — and working your plan — will help build your confidence, which fuels a positive mindset.

Stay positive

A negative attitude and focus won’t help you or your team.  When I train athletes, we don’t talk about the negative.  Sure, there will be times when you face less-than-desirable circumstances and conditions (inclement weather, an injured teammate, etc.)  Your attitude is contagious and it will impact the people around you.  Do your best to maintain positive words and body language.  Expect to win.

Be adaptable

There’s a lot you can control, but not everything.  You have to practice being adaptable, and believe you can do anything.  Train yourself to overcome obstacles, and not concede to them.  For example, a basketball point guard should anticipate the defense taking away his/her strong hand, and should practice and develop capable ball-handling skills with his/her “off” hand.

Focus on small goals

Rather than focusing on winning the game, direct your focus on each individual at-bat or offensive possession.  Your goal should be to win each inning, quarter, or period.  Successful attainment of each small goal will lead you, ultimately, to your larger goal.  Looking too far ahead to the outcome can dilute your focus.  Do your best to impact the present and the future will take care of itself.

Talk to yourself

Positive self-talk is a strong motivator.  External motivation is great, but it’s also inconsistent — you can’t always count on others to motivate you.  Find quotes, sayings, or slogans that motivate you.  Visualize yourself succeeding (and celebrating).  Learn to communicate with yourself in a way that is positive and motivating.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Communication, Confidence, Leadership, and Passion

26 Oct

9-27_sports_volleyball_julianawacklawski_14-792x5281This past weekend, I had the pleasure of watching a local volleyball standout, now playing for a successful, East coast DI program.

I actually saw her play for the first time as a high school senior – by accident.  I was at a match watching a few athletes I train, and she was a teammate of one of “my” athletes.  I quickly recognized that she was the best player on the floor and have followed her career since.

This young lady has obviously spent countless hours on the court, practicing her volleyball skills.  And, although she is clearly a very talented volleyball player, she has something more.  I recognized four “intangible” characteristics that set her – and, I believe all great athletes – apart from her teammates and competitors:

Communication

Great communicator.  Always talking with her teammates (and, occasionally, coaches) – positioning, strategy, encouragement.

Confidence

Great aptitude for the game.  High volleyball IQ.  Has a “short memory” and doesn’t beat herself up when she makes mistakes.  Trusts her abilities and skills.

Leadership

Along with communication, like having another coach on the floor.  Takes charge, provides guidance and direction to teammates.  Never comes off the court.

Passion

Obviously loves the game.  Plays with energy and enthusiasm.  Always hustles.  Never concedes a point or takes a play off.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Stay in the Game

8 Aug

NCAA FOOTBALL 2010: Oct 02 Wyoming at ToledoIt’s important for athletes (and everyone else) to take care of themselves, physically and mentally.  You can’t skip the basics of good physical and mental health and expect to perform at a high level.  Here are some tips to help you stay active:

Make exercise a habit.  If you do something on a regular basis, it becomes part of your life.  Regular exercise has demonstrated the ability to improve physical and mental well-being.

Take it easy.  Try to relax rather than putting a lot of stress on yourself.  When you’re relaxed, you’ll be better prepared and see things more clearly.

Listen to your body.  One of the biggest mistakes athletes make is coming back from injury too soon.  Take some time to allow your body to heal normally.

Don’t overdo it… moderation is the key.  Whether it’s your diet or exercise, avoid an extreme, fanatical approach and don’t go overboard.

Believe in you.  When you’re confident, it enhances a lot of things, including your physical and mental performance and achievement.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Great Players Have Short Memories

22 Apr

phoenix[1]Failure happens all the time. It happens every day in practice. What makes you better is how you react to it.” – Mia Hamm

No one is successful 100% of the time.  No one.  Sometimes… we fail.

In sports, it may be a missed shot or turnover; a fumble or dropped pass; or a strikeout or error.

In school, it could be a poor (or subpar) assignment grade or quiz/test score.

At work, perhaps it’s a missed deadline or ineffective presentation.

In life, sometimes we just don’t handle the art of “human communication and interaction” with our loved ones, friends, and neighbors as well as we could have, or as well as we would have liked.

It’s not the mistake that defines you.  What matters most is how you handle it; how you proceed; what you do next.

One of the keys to success:  Don’t let the past determine your future.  Trust in your ability.  Let go of the past and move on.  Believe in you.

If a baseball player strikes out and continues to dwell on it, chances are he will make an error in the field or struggle in his next at-bat as well.

When a golfer is still upset about a bad shot or a missed putt, he or she will rarely be in the right mindset to make a good swing on the next shot.

Great baseball players are great because they don’t let a strikeout or an error dictate their performance for the rest of a game, or into the following game.

Great basketball players are great because they refuse to allow a missed free throw or turnover adversely impact their future performance.

Great football players are great because they have the ability — and the will — to recover from fumbles and interceptions and confidently carry and pass the football again immediately.

Obviously, purposeful practice, preparation, and repetition play a significant role in the success of any athlete (student, employee, etc.) who achieves greatness.  “Don’t practice until you get it right. Practice until you can’t get it wrong.” – Unknown

Great players have short memories.

What to do with a mistake: recognize it, admit it, learn from it, forget it.” – Dean Smith

Please see related post, Your Failures are Behind You — Move on

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

New Year, New and Improved You

6 Jan

confidence[1]No matter how good you are, everyone has room for improvement.  How will you improve yourself in 2016?  Here are a few thoughts:

Do Something

Challenge yourself to develop a new skill.  Start a new project. If it’s making you better — taking you in a positive direction — continue and improve what you did in 2015.  Commit yourself to self-improvement in some area.  If you’re not satisfied with a certain area of your life, do something about it.  Then, keep doing it… every day.  The cumulative impact will be considerable.

Get Moving

Inactivity is the enemy of productivity.  Get started.  Take action.  Move.  Nothing will change until you get going.  Beginning a new endeavor can seem daunting, but Chinese Philosopher Lao Tzu reminds us, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”

The best and brightest individuals in every field were once beginners.  No one starts as an expert.  The greatest accomplishments all have the same common denominator:  At some point, someone was willing to take the first step toward greatness, even if they didn’t realize it at the time.  American Author Zig Ziglar said, “You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.

Be Confident

Believe in yourself.  You have positive attributes.  You have strengths and skills.  Use positive self-talk as a motivator.  Surround yourself with people who are positive and encouraging.  Learn to view setbacks as nothing more than learning experiences — steps on the path to success.  “Believe you can and youre halfway there.” – Theodore Roosevelt

Risk New Things

You know the “definition” of insanity:  “Doing the same things over and over, and expecting different results.”  Take a chance.  Be open-minded and adventurous.  Step out of your comfort zone.  Go out on a limb — that’s where the fruit is.  Change can be scary, but it is a necessary component of progress.  “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.” – Ben Franklin

Stick With It

Creating a better you won’t necessarily be easy.  Some days will be better than others.  There will probably be some obstacles and growing pains along the way.  Be persistent.  Follow your plan and do something to move forward, every day, especially on the “low-motivation” days.  Don’t give up, don’t give in.

Then Be Ready for Big Surprises

You’re as good as you think you are, and as good as you want to be.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

How Will You Know If You Never Try?

23 Sep

Man on top of mountain.If you never try, you’ll never know what you are capable of.” – John Barrow

I asked you these questions a few months ago:

  • What to you want to do?
  • Where do you want to go?
  • Who do you want to be?

How will you do it, see it, or be it, if you don’t try?

In order to accomplish anything, you’ve got to expect success.

You’ve got to work hardwork smart, and believe in yourself.

But the most important step is TRYING.

Try and succeed.  Try and fail.  Try again.  Just don’t let lack of effort be the reason you don’t succeed.

NO regrets — NO “could’ve,” NO “should’ve,” NO “would’ve.”

Most people fail not because they lack ability, intelligence, or opportunity, but they fail because they don’t give it all they’ve got.” – Dr. Norman Vincent Peale

Invest your time, effort, and energy — chase your dream.  Extreme dedication almost always leads to success.

Don’t let worry, wonder, or doubt cloud your vision of success.

Don’t hold anything back.  Give it your best effort.  Whatever that looks like — on any given day — give it.

You may be pleasantly surprised at the results.

Give it a shot.

Take a chance

Push yourself.

Challenge yourself.

Step outside your comfort zone.

You’ll never know if you don’t try.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Maybe EVERYTHING is an Opportunity

10 Aug

Man on top of mountain.Everyone has hardships.  Everyone has problems.  Everyone has weaknesses.  They may be relative, but we’ve all got them.

But, maybe, we’re looking at it all wrong.  Perhaps our perspective needs adjusted.

Maybe our problems are actually possibilities — cleverly disguised opportunities.

Maybe weakness is nothing more than an opportunity to build and develop strength.

Maybe fear is the catalyst that leads to courage.

Maybe ignorance is just a chance to increase and improve awareness.

Maybe ineptitude is the “wake-up call” we need to cultivate and improve our skills.

Maybe failure is a necessary and inevitable step on the path to self-improvement and, eventually, success.

Maybe our own sadness can help us be more compassionate to others.

Maybe criticism and disagreement are opportunities for dialog.

Maybe challenges are meant to help us demonstrate persistence and perseverance.

Maybe difficulty is an opportunity to build character and confidence.

What if we focused less on our problems and more on our opportunities?

Maybe everything is an opportunity.  Think about it.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

You Can Go as Far as Your Belief Will Take You

13 Apr

take-pride-in-how-far-youve-come-and-have-faith-in-how-far-you-can-go-quote-1[1]

dont-limit-yourself-Many-people-limit[1]

1378630606a2ed4[1]

theodoreroosevelt380703[1]

d8d8ea231dede0100d64d4138fc44f20[1]

BELIEVE IN YOU!

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

It’s Gotta Come From Inside

30 Mar

horsewater[1]You can lead a horse to water…

Can passion, enthusiasm, and desire be taught?  How about aggressiveness and confidence?  Can these traits be coached and developed?

Without some seed of inner motivation and desire… I don’t think so.

If you don’t want something as much as someone wants it for you, it’s probably not going to happen.

If you’re not self-motivated, it’s unlikely that anyone else will be able to motivate you.

You’ve got to believe in yourself before you can expect someone else to believe in you.

You’ve got to want to make it happen before someone else can help you make it happen.

Basically, there are two types of motivation that are important for achievement and success:

  • Intrinsic motivation is important for any athlete.  The athlete who is intrinsically motivated is self-motivated because he or she loves the game.  The intrinsically motivated athlete wants to be there.  Coaching team sports can be much more effective when athletes are self-motivated.
  • Achievement motivation is fueled by an athlete’s competitiveness.  All things being equal between two athletes, the one with greater achievement motivation will be the better athlete because of his or her “appetite” for competition.

Keep in mind, intrinsic and achievement motivation are not limited to athletic achievement and success.  Both apply to academics, career, and every other aspect of our lives.

Conversely, extrinsic motivation, as the name implies, come from “outside” and usually involves changing behavior through reinforcement and/or punishment.  I’ve come to believe that this is ineffective, especially long-term.  Reinforcement and punishment can be effective, but only if the individual on the receiving end is motivated.

  • Positive reinforcement involves the use of rewards – praise, helmet decals, prizes, and awards – to increase the probability that a particular behavior will be repeated.
  • Negative reinforcement also increases the probability that a behavior will be repeated, by removing an event that is perceived to be unappealing or undesirable.  For example, if a team has a productive practice, the coach could announce that no sprints will be run at the end of the session.
  • Positive punishment describes an action that is presented after a behavior, that could decrease the behavior’s recurrence.  Reprimanding a basketball player after a turnover is an example of positive punishment.
  • Negative punishment is the removal of something valued.  Loss of privileges or playing time (benching) are examples of negative punishment.

Carpe Diem! Believe in you! Push yourself! Make it happen!

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

%d bloggers like this: