As coaches, you all know what it means to be mentally tough or you would never have made it as a coach. I am sure you developed techniques that worked for you as an athlete and are passing those on to your athletes.
Having worked with 1000’s of athletes over the years, I have found teaching mental toughness has to be multifaceted because kids are all so different. What may work for one athlete, falls on death ears with another athlete.
We wanted to share with you what we call the Coaches Playbook for Mental Toughness video series. This series are clips we pulled out from a talk, Craig, the Mental Toughness Trainer for youth athletes gave at a coaching conference.
This is the first video in the series where Craig Sigl, talks about coaching mental toughness…
The Coaches Playbook For Mental Toughness
Today I want to start off by explaining what is mental toughness? Well, first of all you all probably know there is no generally agreed upon definition, so I’m just going to give you mine and we’re going to go with that today.
And it comes down to these four items: focused, confident, determined, and resilient, especially under pressure. You can fit some other resources, categories and mental skills under any one of those words.
So what is a mental toughness trainer and how am I different than a sports psychologist?
I believe that a lot of the things sports psychologists are teaching are fabulous and I use a lot of the techniques they teach and you’re going to hear some of those here today. But I really believe we need to go a little bit deeper than what most sports psychologist teach, especially with kids.
Everyone has underlying beliefs, what I call programs, which are also just their values. Those programs create interference that get in the way of their performance. And a lot of times, you’ve got to also fix their negative self-talk. You got to get them to visualize and you got to get them to breathe. These are all great things and I teach them, but they’re not enough.
Many of you know kids, who right before an event are about to throw up or they actually do. Literally, I work with some pole vaulters who say, sorry not going today, just cannot plant the pole. Or jumpers, who that’s it, stop, hold themselves, not going. Watch this video of a pole vaulter I worked with who had exactly this issue by clicking here.
This is the kind of thing that lies at the deeper levels. So I have three parts today to teach you my tools, techniques and strategies that you can pass on to your athletes and also learn for yourself. I created them from working with athletes, specifically with teen and preteen athletes.
It’s my passion to work and help kids, because I found that when these kids don’t learn the right perceptions and create some negative programming it stays with them their entire lives.
What is it that we want for our athletes from sports participation? We want them not only to win and experience the joy of accomplishments and success, but we want them to learn life skills – right? We want them to learn discipline and self confidence.
We want them to learn perseverance. We want them to learn to set a goal and work toward achievement. This is really what sports is about for me.
What’s really great about the mental game and the types of tools I’m going to teach you here, is that you and your athletes can practice them anytime and anywhere and this is what I teach all of my athletes. And I encourage you to do this with your athletes as well.
Your athletes can practice what you’re learning here not just on the field, not just in training, but to all areas of their life.
Be sure to go on to the next video on teaching mental toughness…
He has been featured on NBC TV’s “Evening Magazine” show, numerous radio shows and the Seattle P.I. newspaper for his work with youth athletes.