Archive for the 'Mental coaching' Category

Eliud Kipchoge moves human limits forward

If the marathon is a metaphor for life; Eliud Kipchoge’s performance is the demonstration that the limits are a cultural expression that can be overcome with work.

You have to lead a life adequate to the goals you want to achieve and what you want to succeed.

Some people argue that unexpected events can prevent this from happening. That is true, but you have to commit yourself every day as if it could not happen.

Excellence does not require two lose the private life, which instead must find a place within the project.

It is said that “if you don’t dream big, you’re not realistic”, we have to teach it to young people.

You have to want everything, knowing that only by working hard and at best you could get it, but nothing and no one can ever guarantee this satisfaction: you have to run the risk of failure having given everything.

#WorldMentalHealthDay

How the coaches have to build cohesion

In this early period of the team games season, I am often asked how to improve the cohesion of a team especially by the coaches who work in junior teams and and also not professional teams. I make this distinction because among these coaches there is a widespread idea that having little time available, everything that goes beyond the technical work done in the field is unnecessary work, which we do not have time to do, precisely because: “We are not a professional team, where the players are always available.”

This attitude is the motivation that drives many coaches to believe that the players must adapt to their working method and the hierarchies proposed. Physical and technical/tactical preparation are the masters and if someone doesn’t agree, it’s worse for him/her.

Leadership is essentially manifested in the administration of a training program that must be followed without discussion. They start from correct considerations (limited time, reduced economic resources, not optimal hours for training) to arrive at wrong conclusions. Those who do not accept this approach are usually labeled as lazy, unwilling to make sacrifices or presumptuous.

Unfortunately for them, the culture of work and team cohesion are essential factors in a team sport and are not built with this approach. Team performance instead draws its strength from the daily training of the concept of US: the winning performance comes from the integration of the behavior of various players, teaching more players to do different things well, together and at the same time.

Coach has to:

  1. Encourage participation by listening to the players’ suggestions
  2. Avoide favouritism
  3. Reward altruistic behaviour
  4. Reduce individualistic behaviour
  5. Assign challenging and achievable goals to each player
  6. Assign each player a specific role
  7. Encourage a learning and collaborative training climate
  8. Stimulate maximum commitment and constantly reinforce it
  9. Always support the team when it is in negative momentum
  10. Spend time with athletes to evaluate their commitment to training
  11. Analyse coldly with the team the results of the matches

The question for coaches is: how much time do you spend developing these performance factors?

Eliud Kipchoge challenge the human limits

Eliud KipchogeKenyan

  • 35 years, 1m67, 52 Kg
  • Marathon runner, 230km week
  • Married, 3 children
  • Olympic gold and world recordman on the marathon in 2h1m39s

Goal: Run the marathon in 1h59m in Vienna in the next few days

Mental Attitude (mindset)

  • Training, passion and self-discipline
  • He writes down everything he does in notebooks.
  • He writes down his feelings to remember them
  • Read Aristotle, Confucius and Paul Coelho
  • He runs with his mind relaxed
  • “Respect a law, that of never telling you lies”
  • “Only the disciplined are free, the others are slaves to moods and passions.”
  • “When I train, I try to feel my body and give more and more. I don’t believe in limits.
  • “You have to have a great conviction and a team that believes in you and supports you. Shoes are also important. And then you have to be stronger than any other runner in the past. Everything is possible”.
  • “Marathon is life. If you want to be happy you have to enjoy life and I enjoy running the marathon. That’s why I smile.

He leads a spartan life:

  • Always gets up at 5 a.m. in Kaptagat (Kenya)
  • The weekend returns to the family
  • He cleans his room and bathroom
  • He washes his knits and socks in a bowl that he then spreads like the others
  • In the afternoon, he drinks a cup of tea and eats a slice of bread.

(Source: Emanuela Audisio, Repubblica e correre.it)

Make mistakes is a part of the game

Losing is a part of the game in which athletes are involved. Everyone knows it, few people accept it. They close out in shame of not having been able to win a race, to avoid coldly assessing what they will have to do in the next race.

Losing is seen as a wound at ourself: “It means that despite training, I cannot do what I know to do. In this way, the athletes don’t develop self-confidence and this explanation of defeat continues to weigh in the next race. The mind is not free, it is not focused on the present but it is taken to see what will happen this time: “Will I be able to do what I know to do or will I fall back into the same mistakes?”

A vicious circle is established limiting the athletes and the performances, because this negative attitude does not allow them to stay focused on the task, waiting for the catastrophe that at some point will come.

Then the justifications: I was tired, I did not sleep well, I felt the burden of responsibility, everyone expects I perform at my best, “Yes, I could … But it’s difficult… in those moments I don’t react”.

There is a well-established mindset to find alibi for the negative performance and there is no humility in saying: “Ok, I’ve got this and that wrong. Well, next time I want to commit myself to finding solutions to these difficulties.”

Competitions are not a health walk. For athletes the races are extreme tests and those who are most able to deal with the difficulties that the extreme situation offers usually win.

We as sports psychologists can play an important role in determining this awareness and teaching positive ways of living these extreme situations. It is not a problem to make mistakes. It is a physiological fact, because the one who makes the least mistakes wins. Making mistakes is part of the race, even those who win make mistakes. They probably make fewer mistakes and are less influenced by their mistakes.

We chill do mistakes: only those who are presumptuous can think differently. We make one mistake and the next minute we think: “I’ll correct myself in this way.”

How many times do you have to do this? I don’t know, it depends on the duration of the race but one thing is certain:

“It doesn’t matter how many times you fall, but how quickly you get up.

 

New AASP president: Natalie Durand-Bush

Tottenham and Atalanta without resilience

Yesterday Champions League matches showed a resilience problem in some teams, such as Tottenham (it lost 7-2 to Bayern) and Atalanta (2-1 to Shaktar). Both teams were unable to react positively to the difficulties of the match.

In fact, resilience refers precisely to the ability to react immediately to a problem. It is the ability that allows people to react to defeats by going back stronger than before. These people, rather than being overwhelmed by failure and blocking their determination, find instead a way to rise from those defeats.

Let’s also say that teams that often lose matches, as in this period in Serie A (Spal, Sampdoria, Genoa and Milan) and those that, usually, play below their level show a lack of resilience. The same goes for the coaches who lead them.

  • To develop the resilience players and teams need to:
  • Know the situations you have to deal with in detail
  • Have a plan to deal with them successfully
  • Be prepared to adapt immediately to new and unforeseen situations
  • Believe in one’s own personal and team skills, making the maximum effort to implement them
  • Be able to react positively and immediately to an error
  • Communicate and support companions throughout the match
  • Reduce tension when possible and during game breaks

These are skills that should be constantly improved. For the coaches the questions are:

  1. Am I aware of the importance of resilience?
  2. Am I convinced I can coach it?
  3. How often do I coach it in my team?

 

The winning mindset during a football match

In Serie A, Andreazzoli, Di Francesco, Semplici and Giampaolo risk the bench, because of the negative results of their teams: Genoa, Sampdoria, Spal all with one point and Milan with two points after six games.

Certainly the situations are different from team to team. For example, Semplici is the coach with the most years in the same team in Serie A (five years) while Giampaolo has to lead the team of a historic and winning club.

Therefore, independently of the differences between these clubs and knowing their difficulties – 1 or 2 points obtained out of 18 available –  I want to write about the mentality of a team and its coach.

I don’t know exactly what mistakes have been made in the leadership of these teams but I present the most common ones when leaders are leading groups whose results do not meet the expectations of the beginning of the year.

Timing - “everything and now” is the enemy of “improvement over time” and too many coaches and managers “hope that it will go as they think” rather than “building a team”.

WE - it is essential to make the players responsible for the concept of “playing together”, each one is responsible not only for his own performance but in equal measure for how he supports his teammates.

Mistakes - football is a sport where mistakes are made but, “the player has to correct himself immediately” without complaining. “I lose the ball, I recover the ball immediately” and not “I lose the ball, I complain / I stop and let go the opponent.

Competitiveness - teach that no matter what the score and the time of the match, but the players must always play at their best and never favor the opponent with a team depressed attitude.

Locker room - Those players who commit themselves to keep the group united and focused on the game should be identified and supported in the locker room as well as the score (positive or negative).

Team dialogue - the dialogue on the pitch among the players must always be constructive and aimed at maintaining an effective emotional and competitive level.

Coach - In every moment of the game and till the final whistle, regardless of the result, the manager must never stop driving and supporting the players.

In my opinion these are the main factors that should be developed in each team. Everyone can improve a lot in this respect, they don’t depend on any talent and they don’t depend on the type of game you want to play.

They are the prerequisites for effective performance. You can have the best players or the most effective schemes but if the team is lacking even on one of these points will never be able to express itself at its best.

Athletes’ 10 more common mistakes

List of the most common mistakes made by athletes starting from their sentences.

  1. the technique solves any difficult situation
  2. I just have to train for many hours and if that’s not enough, I’ll add more hours
  3. it’s always important to do what the coach says
  4. I did everything I had to do to be ready, now let’s see how it goes
  5. the opponent was too strong
  6. I don’t believe that I continue to make the same mistakes
  7. after a while I lose my mind
  8. today wasn’t exactly a good day, I knew it would has been bad
  9. when I make a stupid mistake, I get mad at myself and I make another one.
  10. It was all right until then, but then it was a disaster.

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A lesson for all the athletes who want excel in their career!

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