To truly build mental toughness in athletes and create a team of peak performers under pressure, you as the coach should….
CREATE A SAFE ENVIRONMENT for athletes to learn and excel! That is, TEACH them to use their mistakes to learn, rather then to FEAR MAKING THEM! Stay calm in the face of their failures and screw-ups and tell them what they need to do differently next time, not just what they did wrong. Do NOT tolerate jealousy, scapegoating, selfishness, BIG egos or any form of team-busting behaviors!
WALK THE TALK and directly model the behaviors you want to see in your players. MODEL good communication, calm under pressure, honesty, integrity, dedication, FAIRNESS and RESPECT for ALL PLAYERS and the pursuit of excellence!
BE POSITIVE and catch your athletes DOING THINGS RIGHT! Appropriately rewarding good effort/play with praise builds self-confidence, strengthens motivation and makes your athletes mentally tougher. Yelling at, demeaning, being excessively negative and/or embarrassing them does the EXACT OPPOSITE!
COACH your athletes, NOT the OUTCOME. Good coaching is ALL about athlete development, NOT winning! Build your athletes up, treat them as individuals, as a WHOLE person, NOT just an athletic performer. CARE about them and who they are. INSPIRE them because you have a critically important job: You are preparing the next generation to be leaders, teachers, coaches and peak performers.
The biggest compliment I hear athletes giving their great coaches long after they played for them is, “YOU inspired me, got me to believe in myself when I had lost all belief, and cared about me regardless of whether we won or lost!
Are you or an athlete you know consistently underachieving or struggling with a performance difficulty? I can help.