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Coaching from the Sidelines


I often hesitate to share articles such as these, as I know all parents are not offenders and I don't want anyone to feel accused. I decided to share this article as it was sent to our office by one of your fellow Cobb Atlanta parents who found it a good read and I found it a good one for my own parenting as well. I like to believe CAJ parents act by our motto of coaches coach, players play, and parents cheer. I do know that as parents our emotions can get the best of us and we want to correct our children from the sidelines. Please know this article isn’t directed at anyone in particular. As a parent, I'm right there with you watching my own boys wishing they would cut a little harder or hit the jump at the wakeboard park. Hopefully, this article will help you and me think twice before saying more than "Great Job!" or "You got the next one!" from the sidelines.

All the best,



The original article can be found here.

Why Coaching From the Sidelines Will Always Backfire for Sports Parents

Updated: March 13, 2019



As a long-time club soccer coach, I've noticed a troubling trend emerging in the sport.

As scores of parents position themselves on the touchline of a weekend game, many of them seem committed to playing two roles—parent AND coach. This issue is surely not relegated to youth soccer, either. What comes out of sports parents' mouths during games is often a mixture of shocking, fundamentally irrelevant and unintentionally misleading. There's nothing wrong with some encouragement or cheering your child on, but many sports parents tend to go far beyond that. There are only a few formative years where we, as parents, can sit and watch our kids play, yet these parents act like a u8 game is the World Cup final.

As both a coach and a parent, I believe parents coaching from the sideline is one of the most destructive habits in youth sports. It rarely produces better results in the short-term, and over the long-term, it seriously hamstrings the kid's development and love for the game. If you ask a parent who constantly coaches from the sideline what their end goal is, it often traces to a desire for their kid to get a college scholarship. But the very habit they're engaging in will result in their child having an extremely difficult time adapting to the bigger and better competition they'll face when they hit their teenaged and high school years. And when their habit extends to other players on their child's team, they hamstring the development of the entire squad.

Trying to coach your kids through their decisions on the soccer field really has no benefit. Soccer is a sport that requires quick decision making. American players are no less athletic than their European counterparts, but are significantly behind in soccer IQ. Previously, I wrote about how joysticking coaches who tell their players what to do every single second of every game hurt the players. The decision-making responsibilities are taken away from the kids and put onto the coach, and while it may get a couple more wins this season, in the long term, it's disastrous for development. Parents coaching from the sideline fall into the same category, but with the added bias of them wanting their child to be the star player, meaning the instruction they offer is usually even worse. Rene Muelenstein, former Manchester United Assistant coach and Fulham manager, has said that parents coaching from the sideline is useless and should never happen.

Coaches should coach and parents should parent. Good club and recreation coaches should have a predesigned curriculum that has a plan for their players to improve and develop throughout the season. If a parent is interested in learning about the curriculum, that's a great conversation to have. But many sports parents are far less interested in development than they are immediate results. The idea is that little 6-year-old Sally doesn't need to be Alex Morgan right now. She needs time to experiment and learn the game. The best way to do that is by simply playing it herself without having her every move coached. Playing pick-up soccer is perhaps the best way for her to do this, but since parents feel the need to enroll their kids in organized sports early and often, the goal should be to make that experience highly hands-off.

However, in America's win-at-any-cost youth sports culture, Sally needs to be great right this second and score all the goals because the best players play forward. God forbid Sally play defense or look to create assists. So to "accelerate" her development, her parents are going to tell her what to do and when to do it. This only confuses the player, because instead of learning how to read and react to the game and learn from trial and error, she's constantly craning her head to look at her parents for what to do. And even worse, if she has a joysticking coach, she's got both her parent and her coach yelling at her with instructions (which will often be conflicting). Does this really sound like a good environment for learning and improving at her sport?

There are nuances to the game that players pick up when allowed to play without interruption from coaches or parents simply watching. Let them experiment and figure out what does or does not work. Most parents have never played the game at a meaningful level, nor are they actual students of the game. They simply coach in the moment, hoping that their screams of instruction will help little Sally or Sam avoid "failure" with their next move, giving little thought to long-term development.

Let kids develop their soccer personalities and build their own identity. We are not building robots. Success does not need to be measured in terms of wins and losses and goals scored—especially when you're dealing with children and pre-teens. Real development is more difficult to quantify. Growth in decision-making skills, technical ability, vision and awareness don't always result in more goals or wins today, and these elements of the game aren't developed by a coach or parent telling their child what to do from the sidelines.

At older ages, high-level club teams will have a game plan and will often have spent the week working on objectives for the game. The only people who truly know what these objectives are are the coaching staff and the players. You would think that parents coaching from the sideline and ruining game plans would earn them a reprimand from the coach, but here's where we get to the next part of the problem.

Many young athletes now operate in a never-ending state of "free agency," as their parents are quick to have them switch teams if they don't think they're playing enough, being coached well, scoring enough, etc. Few soccer clubs have the power to control the parents. It's a buyer's market, club soccer is big business, and there's always another club willing to take on players. These leads some clubs to surrender to the will of the parents, but this practice is wrong.

Like kids, adults will push boundaries to see what they can get away with. A bunch of parents coaching from the sideline shows a lack of respect for the club and the coach. The ground rules need to be established early and often. No coach wants a parent to scream "shoot the ball!" at his or her player. Moreover, parents are often screaming "shoot" when the player in question isn't in the proper position and doesn't really have possession of the ball. "Pass the ball" is a proverbial favorite from sideline parent-coaches that's rarely helpful. It's often yelled when the player in question either has no options, acres of space in front of them, or has their head down and can't see their teammates.

Youth sports belong to the kids, not the adults. Sidelines have become a cauldron of idiocy, not just in behavior, but in a totally inability to just sit back and enjoy the day. It's unclear how an adult can enjoy watching their children play a sport when they are so emotionally invested in the game. Sit back and watch. Relax! You're off the job and it's a night or weekend. There are no college scouts at this 8-year-old game. I know there are sports parents who dislike me because I have told them repeatedly to stop coaching the kids and/or freaking out on the sideline, but I do it because I know the game is for the kids. The more aggressive and controlling the parents are, the less likely the kids are to enjoy the game. The less they like it, the more likely they are to quit before they hit middle or high school. So that grand plan to earn a college scholarship hit a dead end before the child could attend a single college camp or play a single high school game.

Pyschologist Carol Dweck has said the problem with her "growth mindset theory" is many people have completely misunderstood or misinterpreted it. I think a lot of sports parents have fallen into this trap. A growth mindset isn't about avoiding failure. It's about not being afraid to fail because you know it's an unavoidable requirement of growth. Dweck says the purpose of youth sports for kids is having fun, growing their skills and learning how to become a great team member.

This is not intended to be a total takedown of all sports parents. There are plenty of sports parents doing an awesome job out there and helping their kids foster a love and a passion for sports and the values they teach. However, they do seem to be becoming less common. If you're a sports parent who wants to change your ways, it really is as simple as relaxing, being more hands-off, and simply asking your kid if they had fun after every game or practice instead of berating or overanalyzing their performance. Rather than only rewarding goals and wins, applaud effort and development (provided those things are actually occurring). "You worked hard and you're getting better" is a lot different than "You're the best because you scored three goals."

If you're a coach dealing with overzealous parents, I've had friends who've found success simply by sending out a reading to the team's parents that details how to act and how not to act on the sideline. It's simple, straightforward, and not overly confrontational or critical. Parents are critical stakeholders in youth sports, as are the coaches. Getting everyone on the right page in terms of how to act and what matters most will create a better environment today and a better sports future tomorrow for all involved.


5 Reasons to Integrate Yoga Into Your Strength and Wellness Program this Season

For link to actual article, click here.

Yoga is becoming more common in training regiments for junior athletes. Coaches are finding that their athletes' overall mental, physical, and even inspirational well-being improve as a result of incorporating yoga and mindfulness into practice time. If you are not convinced yet, let's look at 5 reasons to integrate yoga into your club's wellness program this season.

Top 5 benefits of yoga:

 Yoga practice helps prevent injuries and speeds recovery from strenuous workouts.

The Academy of Volleyball Cleveland has found that yoga has reduced injuries and sped up recovery times after tournaments. "Once we get into the season we turn from weights to yoga and stretching once a week before training" says AVC Club Director Paul Schiffer "The benefits are reduced injuries and quick recovery times."

It helps with breathing, flexibility, strength, confidence, energy, balance, concentration, endurance and injury prevention.

Ethos Volleyball Club incorporated yoga at the beginning of the season to help lengthen and stetch the muscles after a high school season that involves many matches with very little rest. "The kids absolutely LOVED it and felt a ton better after" adds Ethos Club DirectorTroy Helton. "I think it's great for the athletes and helps change up the dynamics of workouts, which are typically "crossfit" in nature for our club."

It helps prepare young athletes in learning how their bodies work. Proper yoga instruction teaches body mechanics and enhances body awareness.

Cobb Atlanta Fitness Director and 15-1 Head Coach Kelsey Bennett incorporates yoga into the club's weekly fitness program. "Yoga helps improve balance, strength, flexibility, and body awareness. All of which are important in keeping our athletes well rounded and successful on the court" states Bennett. These things will help each player stay healthy and performing at their highest potential."

It teaches players how to harness their breathing and focus on the present. Being able to visualize the serve or game winning block can help improve their game.

It teaches players how to slow down, regenerate from their strenuous workouts and relax. With the intense pressure to do well in school and sports, most kids don't take the time to reap the benefits of their hard work.

Merging yoga with strength and conditioning training requires mindfulness. Mindfulness begins with connecting with breath. This connection increases an athletes' presence in the moment, it sharpens focus and recruits muscles from areas that we previously didn't know were connected.

Kokoro Volleyball incorporates mindfulness into each athletes training to develop overall mind, body and spirit.

"Since implementing this program we have noticed a significant increase in our athletes' ability to remained focused for longer periods of time in practice" shares Kokoro Club Director R.T. Luczak.  "We have also noticed an increase in execution of techniques and processes under pressure with the increased ability to shut out distractionsand remain focused on the technique/process at hand."

As a Club Director or Coach, consider adding yoga into your strength and conditioning  program this season. Many times the upsides are the gifts that keep on giving long after they leave the sport. But first, find out what upsides you will see this season.



LeBron James Sleeps A Lot. Here's Why Other Athletes Should Too


LeBron James has made headlines for many reasons over the years. The NBA powerhouse and newly minted Lakers star has earned multiple NBA Most Valuable Player Awards and two Olympic gold medals, among many other accolades.

But more recently, James has been gaining attention for a different reason: The man sleeps a lot. During a recent discussion on The Tim Ferriss Show podcast, James and his trainer Mike Mancias divulged that the basketball pro aims to get at least eight to 10 hours of sleep every single night. Even more recently, James shared on Twitter that he’d slept so deeply (and for a whopping 12 hours) that he accidentally missed a holiday party.

Far from being lazy or indulgent, research suggests King James is really onto something.

James’s commitment to regularly obtaining sufficient, high-quality sleep might help explain why the 34-year-old is still one of the world’s most celebrated professional basketball players in the 16th season of his career. To this day, James out-plays most of his contemporaries — he’s reportedly played more playoff minutes than any man in the history of basketball, and his average regular-season game play is top among all active NBA players. As it happens, James’ penchant for sleep might help explain his successon the court.

Far from being an anomaly, James joins legions of athletes who prioritize getting tons of sleep. Tennis great Roger Federer reportedly gets 10 to 12 hours per night, and stories of other sleep-loving pros abound. Gabby Douglas, Mikaela Shiffrin, Lindsey Vonn, Michael Phelps, Michelle Wie, and Usain Bolt have all made headlines for their proclivity for shuteye, to name just a few.

“Sleep is the most important thing in the world for an athlete,” Dr. W. Christopher Winter, MD, D-ABSM, D-ABIM, D-ABPN, F-AASM, the President of Charlottesville Neurology and Sleep Medicine and CNSM Consulting, told Mattress Clarity via email. “It is as important as food, hydration, and athletic preparation/conditioning.”

Per Winter, even athletes who aren’t operating at the elite level require high-quality sleep on a regular basis in order to sustain and enhance their athletic performance. So no matter whether you’re part of an amateur soccer league, a competitive triathlete, or a weekend warrior, here’s what you need to know about athletes and sleep.

How LeBron Does It

Per Business Insider, James and Mancias shared several details about James’ sleep routine on Ferriss’ podcast. In order to maximize his sleep duration and quality, James says he adopts the following strategies:

He pays attention to temperature. James has dialed in on the fact that 68 to 70 degrees is the optimal temperature for his own sleep.

He creates a soothing bedtime environment. He keeps his bedroom completely dark, avoids blue-light-emitting devices (such as TV or his phone) in the 30 or 45 minutes prior to bedtime, and utilizes a sleep app called Calm to fall asleep to soothing sounds.

He embraces accountability. Per the podcast, Mancias regularly checks in with James to confirm that he’s getting his eight-plus hours of sleep each night.

Together, these strategies help ensure James gets the sleep necessary to thrive on the court and off.

Of course, pro athletes such as James face a much more demanding lifestyle than the average Joe or Jane Athlete. Brutal training regimens, travel-induced jet lag, late-night games, and the stresses of being in the spotlight can all take an extra toll and require additional recovery time.

“Circadian rhythm disruption, such as may occur with requisite travel, has been shown to have clear effects on athletic performance,” Dr. Brandon Peters, M.D., a board-certified neurologist and sleep medicine specialist who practices at Virginia Mason Medical Center, told Mattress Clarity via email.

But even if you’re not up against the same demands as elite competitive athletes, Dr. Bo Babenko, PT, DPT, head physical therapist at Halevy Life (which has trained the likes of Hugh Jackman and Ryan Seacrest), told Mattress Clarity via email that all athletes need to make sleep a priority — and they may benefit from obtaining even more sleep than the recommendation for the average population, which is currently around seven to eight hours per night.

“Lebron… has been quoted as sleeping upwards of 12 hours a day,” Babenko says. “Babies sleep significant amounts of time to foster their development. And while it may not be necessary (or possible) to sleep THAT much, we certainly should be getting as much as we can.”

Why Athletes Need Lots Of Sleep

Even though we might not all have a dedicated coach encouraging us to sleep eight to 10 hours a night, research consistently finds that athletes of all stripes require sufficient sleep in order to perform their best.

“Athletes can universally benefit from prioritizing sleep,” Peters says. “Not only will it optimize their performance, but it likely will have positive benefits on mood, concentration and memory, and relationships. Professional athletes — and us mere mortals — all benefit from sleeping well.”

For instance, many studies have found that sleep is one of the most effective tools for muscle recovery. Muscle recovery, in turn, is essential for sustaining muscle mass, strength, and power.

“Athletic performance certainly needs skill development followed by building capacity to achieve higher levels of performance,” Babenko says. “But the most important thing is recovery to get the most out of each session. It is low-hanging fruit that simply cannot be ignored.”

Additionally, adequate sleep is regularly linked with improvements in athletic performance. For example, a 2011 study from the journal SLEEP found that basketball players who slept 10 hours per night for five to seven weeks demonstrated faster sprint times, less fatigue, and greater shooting accuracy than they did prior to increasing their sleep (1).

On the other hand, failing to get enough sleep may have a direct correlation with impaired athletic performance.

“Untreated sleep disorders, including sleep apnea and insomnia, can be profoundly detrimental,” Peters says.

Even athletes who don’t suffer from sleep disorders may find their performance diminishes when they don’t get enough sleep. A recent survey of NBA players’ late-night Twitter usage (which is associated with diminished sleep duration) found that athletes who stayed up late the night before a game performed significantly worse during the next day’s competition.

These results seem to hold true across different sports. Sleep deprivation is consistently linked to diminished athletic performance in the form of slower response times, fatigue, impaired judgment and decision-making abilities, and other negative effects (2, 3, 4). A study of young athletes also found that sleep deprivation significantly increases the risk of injury (5). Explains Babenko: “A stressed human is much less likely to recover from any injury. Sleep improves stress; we like to keep it simple.”

For athletes and laypeople alike, sleep deprivation can also yield several negative consequences in the form of impaired cognitive function, diminished mood, fatigue, and a higher risk of developing chronic health conditions.

Even if an athlete seems capable of performing well after a night or two of sleep deprivation, Winter says the effects of chronic poor sleep will eventually catch up with them. “Just because you can score 30 points after a night where you intentionally skimped on sleep, does not mean you will always be able to do it,” he says. “Choosing to get inadequate sleep will shorten your career.”

While sleep, in general, is essential for athletic performance, Winter says deep sleep — the stage of sleep that typically occurs during the first two or three hours of a sleep session — is especially important for physical recovery.

Peters concurs. “Slow-wave sleep, during which growth hormone is released, is very important for physical recovery and the repair of the body’s tissues,” he says.

Sleep Like An NBA Player

If you’re an athlete who’s looking to up your game, then you’d do well to incorporate high-quality sleep into your training regimen.

“All athletes absolutely should [prioritize sleep],” Babenko says. “The more we understand about the human body, the more clear it is that sleep is vital to our recovery.”

In that spirit, here are some strategies to increase your chances of obtaining high-quality sleep on a consistent basis:

Keep your bedroom cool, dark, and quiet. This tip is fundamental to good sleep hygiene. Research consistently finds that most people sleep best in an environment that is as dark as possible, quiet, and relatively cool (think somewhere between 60 and 67 degrees).

Aim to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Maintaining a consistent sleep and wake schedule helps train your body to anticipate falling asleep and waking up at a particular time, which helps regulate your body’s internal clock.

Create a soothing bedtime routine. Most of us need some transition time to unwind before falling asleep. Taking a warm bath, reading a good book, meditating, or listening to calming music are all great ideas that can help your mind and body get ready for slumber. “I also highly encourage crocodile breathing (an exercise to down-regulate the nervous system) and foam rolling right before bed as it helps calm the body down and improve deeper sleep,” Babenko says.

Avoid blue light for an hour or so before bed. There’s a reason James shies away from screens prior to his bedtime. Research consistently finds that the “blue light” emitted by electronic devices (such as phones, tablets, laptops, and TVs) can interfere with our ability to sleep soundly. This is largely because the light emitted from screens may trigger cells in our eyes to tell the brain that it’s daytime rather than bedtime, which can suppress the production of the sleep hormone melatonin.

Consider athlete-centric bedding. When Babenko is advising athletes about how to obtain better sleep, he says, “We discuss the firmness of the mattress and the positions they tend to sleep in to see if they align.” In addition to investing in a comfortable mattress, some athletes also swear by bedding that’s designed with recovery in mind, such as Celliant.

Even if you struggle to fall asleep, Winter says downtime in bed is still valuable for recovery. “Do not view simply resting in bed as wasted time if you cannot fall asleep,” he says. “It is not.”

Of course, all the better if you can actually fall asleep. By making high-quality sleep a priority on a daily basis, you’ll significantly improve your odds of developing and sustaining your desired level of athletic prowess. In fact, Babenko says, “If you spend numerous hours a week and significant financial resources towards your craft, no matter your level, you 100% are leaving money on the table if you do not prioritize your sleep.”


Competitive Lessons from the World’s Best Athletes

Competitive Lessons from the World’s Best Athletes

Original article: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-power-prime/201203/sports-competitive-lessons-the-world-s-best-athletes

Do you know what it takes to be as mentally strong as the world's best athletes?


I define Prime Time as the most important game of your life in which you'll be up against your toughest opponents and competing under the most difficult conditions. Prime Time is what sports are all about. It's the reason why you work so hard on all aspects of your sport. And Prime Time is probably the reason why you're reading my article.

Prime Time is that moment that defines you as an athlete. It shows you and others how skilled you are, how well conditioned you are, and, most importantly, how strong you are mentally. All of my work in the psychology of sport is directed toward your achieving Prime Sport, playing at a consistently high level under the most challenging conditions, in Prime Time.

This notion of Prime Time emerged from my work with one young athlete who was making a difficult, though successful, transition from high-level junior competition to professional sports. What became clear to both of us was that the world's best athletes hold little resemblance to lower-level athletes. Sure, they compete in the same sport and go through the same motions. But what enables them to be at that rarified level goes beyond just exceptional physical ability. The best athletes in the world don't just do things better, they do things differently, particularly those things that occur between their ears. These lessons that we learned together helped this athlete overcome the challenges of professional sports and enabled him to progress up the world rankings. They also taught me lessons that athletes at all levels could use to raise their level of play and achieve their highest level of sports success. These lessons are divided into categories: competitive and mental (I'll discuss the mental lessons next week).

1.  Play to the best of your ability. In any given game, you may not be at your best. You may not be playing that well due to fatigue, illness, injury, or any number of reasons. But whatever ability you bring to the game, you must play to the best of that ability if you have any chance of success.

An important lesson I learned from working with professional and Olympic athletes is that you can't always be at 100%. Imagine the life of the world's best athletes. They travel and compete constantly, sometimes going from one side of the world to the other and having to compete the next day. There is simply no way they can be totally on top of their game every day.

Often before a game, many athletes just don't feel very good and know they're not going to play well. Because they're not going to be at 100%, they, in essence, throw in the towel before the game even begins. They think, "If I'm not feeling good, there's no way I can play well and get a good result." 

However, you don't have to play your best to win (or get a good result). You only need to play better than your competition. So, to increase the likelihood of that happening, you must learn to play your best with what you have on that given day. For example, if you're only at 80%, play at the full 80%. That may still be enough for you to achieve your goals. If not, well, at least you gave it your best shot; no regrets for you.

2.   KISS. Sports are really pretty simple. Whoever plays best wins. Yet, athletes can make sports complicated by trying to do too many things. A rule to follow is the KISS principle. Most athletes know the KISS principle as "keep it simple stupid," but I don't believe that one. I believe athletes should "keep it simple SMART!" 

My KISS principle means that you should choose a few basic things you want to do in a game and stick to them. When things aren't going well, there can be a tendency to overthink and try to find some complex solution to the problem. This approach usually just clouds the situation and makes it worse.

Your goal should be to focus on a few things and do them to the best of your ability. In fact, on game day, the simplest of the KISS principle you should focus on is this: Execute the fundamentals the best you can.

3.   Expect it to be hard. This is one of the toughest lessons for young athletes who are making the transition from the juniors to the professional ranks. As juniors, there are always easy games where the competition is soft and the conditions are easy. Because they are at such a high level, they will often be competing against athletes who have much less ability. With all of that early success, it's not difficult to be lulled into the belief that it will always be easy. Not in the pros! Every game is hard. Every game is one they could lose because their competition is just as talented, just as good, just as competitive, and just as hungry to win. No matter what level of sport you're competing in, if you expect it to be hard, you'll stay positive and motivated when it does get difficult.

Sports should be difficult. That is what makes them so much fun and rewarding. If you play against a field that you are considerably better than and you win, how do you feel?  Not much sense of accomplishment and satisfaction, is there? Sports are supposed to be hard. They should be physically demanding. Sports should test your technical and tactical capabilities. They should show you what you are made of mentally and emotionally. That is why you compete.

If you expect it to be hard, then there will be no surprises. If you fall behind early in a game, well, think about how exciting it will be to come from behind and win. If you choke, well, that happens. If you fight as hard as you can and still don't get the result you want, you can still feel good for having given your best effort. If you expect it to be hard, you will prepare yourself physically and mentally for the demands of your sport. When the game proves that you were right, it is tough, then you'll step up and play your best.

4.   Win the mental game. When you begin a game, you actually compete in two games. First, you compete against your opponents in the actual game. Second, you compete against yourself in the mental game. Here's a simple reality: if you don't win the mental game, you have no chance of winning the actual game. Realize also that your competition has a similar situation. Given equal ability and the same competitive conditions, whoever wins the mental game will win the real game.

There are several keys to winning the mental game. Most importantly, you have to be your best ally rather than your worst enemy. If your competition is against you and you are against you, you don't have a chance. You must be on your own side. Another key is to never give up. Remember what happens when you give up; you automatically lose. As long as you stay motivated and keep fighting no matter how you're playing, you will always have a chance. Finally, you must reach and maintain your ideal level of focus and intensity throughout the game. This means you need to keep your mind and body in the game from start to finish; no letdowns and no let-ups.

If you learn these lessons from the world's best athletes, you may not make it all the way to the top. But you can be assured that you'll "leave it all out on the field" (or court, course, hill, etc.) and feel great satisfaction in your effort. And, in the end, that's all you can do.


Parents' Reaction To Failure Translates To Their Children

Parents' Reaction To Failure Translates To Their Children

With tournaments just around the corner, this message is a great reminder for parents on how to help your daughter deal with defeat or failure.


PCA National Advisory Board Member Carol Dweck is the Lewis and Virginia Eaton Professor of Psychology at Stanford University and author of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. She graduated from Barnard College in 1967 and earned a Ph.D. from Yale University in 1972. She taught at Columbia University, Harvard University, and the University of Illinois before joining the Stanford faculty in 2004.

In this clip, Dweck explains that the way adults react to failures, whether their own or their children, will transmit to their child's mindset about how they should handle failure. She states that parents need to address it, and not ignore by "treating it as a natural part of the process, and together, learning from it."

Click here for the PCA article.


Emotional Control and Compsure in Sports

Emotional Control and Compsure in Sports

Link to article here: http://www.sportpsychologytoday.com/sport-psychology-for-coaches/emotion...


Do you or someone you know lose emotional control easily in competition? Some athletes lose their composure after they make a mistake, someone on their team makes a mistake, or  the referee makes a bad call.  To gain maximum composure you must accept that you are going to make mistake and experience setback in sports.

When you do make a mistake it is important to have a strategy that helps you regain your composure. You need to be more accepting of mistakes and encourage yourself to move forward – focusing on the next play, shot, race, or routine.

The first step to improving your composure is to identify the mental breakdowns that cause you to lose emotional control in sports. For example, an athlete with very high expectations for his performance is likely to become easily frustrated, lose control emotionally, when he believes that those expectations are not being met.

Below is a list of the top mental errors that cause athletes to lose their composure.

1. Perfectionism — When you don’t perform perfectly you lose composure because you become frustrated and then focus too much on your errors instead of the tasks needed to perform well.

2. Social approval or worrying too much about what others think — Worrying too much or mind reading into how you think others may judge you distracts you from your performance. You lose composure because you are too concerned with how others may perceive your performance.

3. Irrational Beliefs — Irrational beliefs cause you to stay stuck in old, ineffective patterns of behavior.”I will never get a hit,” or “I have to get a hit or everyone will hate me.”

4. Fear of Failure – Fear is based on your intense need to win and causes you to worry too much about losing or failing. This can lead to you play defensive and tentative instead of composed and free.

5. Dwelling on Errors — When you get too caught up in mistakes and dwell them, it becomes easier to get frustrated and lose emotional control, which will not help you stay composed after errors.

We teach our athletes the 3 R’s for composure to help them maintain composure after making a mistake or error.

The 3 R’s for composure stand for: Recognize–Regroup–Refocus.

The first step is to Recognize that you are dwelling on the mistake, which limits your ability focus on the next play.

The next task is to Regroup by interrupting the chain of thought. This requires you to battle your own emotions and dispute your irrational thinking. For example you may say, “I’m a hitter, stay patient and wait for my pitch.”

The last step and most crucial is to Refocus on the next play. Ask yourself what you need to focus on right now to do your best on the next play? The answer will help you refocus on the task-relevant cues for the next play.


The 3 C’s of Being a Captain

The 3 C’s of Being a Captain


Larry Lauer, PhD and Kevin Blue
Michigan State University

Major Point: Captains embody 3 C’s in leading their team: Caring, Courageous, and Consistent.  

Being named a team captain is quite the honor. The position of captain is given to those athletes whom the rest of the team respect and trust to lead the team in the right direction. However, with this great honor also comes great responsibility. A captain must be accountable after a bad performance or practice. Captains are expected to perform in the clutch and lead the team to victory. It is also expected that captains will maintain control in the most pressurized situations and be the model of excellence for their teammates. Wow, coaches and athletes expect a lot of captains don’t they? Is it really worth it to be a captain? 

In our opinion, being a captain is one of the greatest honors an athlete can receive. Yet, many athletes take this honor for granted and do not understand the significance of their responsibilities as captain. In fact, in some situations captains may be selected because they are popular amongst their peers rather than being a suitable candidate for the captaincy. Athletes should take the captain’s role very seriously and put some thought on what it means to be an effective captain. In our opinion a good captain should embody the 3 C’s: 

Caring, Courageous, and Consistent.

3 C’s 


Great captains have an undeniable passion for the game, for competing, and for their teammates. They put the success of the team ahead of their own needs and are truly concerned with the well-being of all team members. As a caring captain, you should treat all teammates with respect and recognize the contributions made by all team members. If you have a problem with a teammate, you should approach that teammate in private and in a positive way to address the situation and find a solution. The captain should be the one to stop rumor spreading and gossiping. These kinds of behaviors destroy team chemistry.


Captains are willing to step up. As a courageous captain, you must “walk the talk” and you cannot be afraid to compete in the worst of situations. Courageous captains set the example for the rest of the team. Your actions must embody the core values of the team, especially during times of adversity. Be a model of courage and dedication to your teammates by setting lofty goals and working hard to reach them. Finally, as a courageous captain you must show that you trust your teammates and coaches, and are also willing to hold teammates accountable to working hard and being prepared. 


Effective captains need to be the model of consistency. To be a consistent captain you need to hold yourself to a standard of giving 100% effort in every practice and game. You cannot cut corners and earn the respect from teammates and coaches that is necessary to lead the team effectively. Consistent captains also have an authentic style of communicating. Some lead by their actions, while others are more vocal. Importantly, to be a consistent captain you must remain true to your own style of communication and not try to be someone else.

If you successfully accomplish these 3 C’s you will earn a 4th C – credibility. Nothing is more important in leading your team into competition than being seen as an authentic, credible leader.

What if you need to develop your 3 C’s?

The good news is that captains can be developed; they are not necessarily born captains. To improve your caring, courageousness, and consistency spend time talking to captains you know. How do they handle certain sticky situations? Also, spend time around good captains and model their best qualities. You can also learn a great deal from reading about great captains such as Steve Yzerman, retired Detroit Red Wing.

Talk to your coaches as well. Find out what they are looking for in a captain and how you can fulfill that role. Finally, take your role seriously. Be willing to do what is right for the team even if it is “not cool”. And, get out and do it. You will learn much on the job including from your mistakes.


4 Traits Needed for a Championship Team

4 Traits Needed for a Championship Team

By: Mike Herbert

Two decisions, above all others, await every coach. The first is who the program will recruit to play on the team. The second identifies which players will be selected to the starting lineup.

But these decisions have fallen on hard times recently. Coaches have become overly enamored with the athletic index of their players, choosing to embrace flash over discipline when forming a team. Any coach who understands the full picture of building a winning team knows that developing a player’s abilities on the mental side of the game is just as important as honing their physical skills.

When I say the “mental game,” I mean more than just comprehending game strategy. It may be something as simple as having a player understand the importance of offering a few words of support to a teammate who has just shanked a pass or hit a ball out. I call this a “rescue,” and it’s every bit as significant as a kill, block or ace.

To help you achieve this balanced culture with your team, I’ve compiled a list of 4 types of players you’ll need on your roster and listed key traits that you should cultivate in each of them.


  • Every great team has at least one player who everyone considers a “stud.”
  • This player is so accomplished that everyone in the gym knows that she/he can take over the match.
  • The mere presence of a stud gives your team a tremendous psychological edge.
  • Studs may be short on other attributes, but they are physically intimidating.
  • Preferably, this player will be a left-side hitter, but anyone can ascend to the role.
  • Studs will want the ball at critical moments.
  • They will always show up and never hide.
  • They will usually be the reason you win a close match.
  • They don’t mind carrying a heavy load. In fact, they take pride in it.
  • This is a difficult role to accept. It requires a player who possesses an enormous level of confidence that borders on cockiness.


  • Every great team is blessed with at least one all-out winner.
  • A winner never contemplates the possibility of losing.
  • No matter what the circumstances, no matter how far behind, no matter how much bad fortune has come their way, winners play every point as if they have a chance to win the match.
  • These players are courageous and take risks.
  • Their commitment to winning is infectious, and they often carry the emotional load for their team.
  • Preferably, this player is a setter, but anyone can take this role.
  • Key ingredient? An unshakeable belief that the team can win under any circumstances.
  • This player needs to be a great communicator who isn’t afraid to express feelings in front of teammates.
  • Winners make everyone around them feel good about themselves.
  • They also are positive and present themselves enthusiastically at all times.
  • This player must have enough “game time” to be credible.
  • Most important: they believe and they make others believe.


  • Most athletes aren’t sufficiently skilled to be studs or psychologically equipped to be winners.
  • Yet championship teams are heavily populated with players who fit neither role. Instead, they play a stabilizing role.
  • These are usually low-error players who are seldom the primary reason your team wins but never the reason it loses.
  • They are often referred to by coaches as role players. They set the stage so the studs and winners can function.
  • Stabilizers are motivated to be role players and work within the system.
  • They get along with everyone and are great teammates.
  • Expectations of them on the court are limited.
  • They keep everyone else on an even keel and are quick to snuff out brush fires.
  • They are consistent, reliable.
  • They assist team leaders in making sure teammates follow team guidelines.
  • Stabilizers are a good influence in locker room.
  • They have a mature perspective on life.


  • A championship team must have a leader.
  • Leaders are players who do the right thing and model championship behavior.
  • They use the right voice inflection, pick the right time to address a situation, know how to approach each teammate, know how to energize the team when it starts to sag and are in command of their emotions at all times.
  • Leaders know what buttons to push when the team needs to be rescued from going down the wrong path.
  • They accept the role of holding the team together and yelling when everyone seems to be in full retreat.
  • These players must command the respect of their teammates.
  • They have the courage to stand alone.
  • They are fearless in confronting teammates and situations needing attention.
  • They have a skilled liaison between players and coaches and know when to involve coaches.
  • Leaders can be a starter or a non-starter. This is a people-skill role, not necessarily tied to play.
  • This player initiates comebacks during competition and is fearless and charismatic.
  • This player has earned the right to lead.
  • The first person a leader has to lead is herself/himself.
  • Leaders know their teammates won’t listen if they don’t walk the walk.
  • Leaders realize that some people are going to respond and others will be a pain in the ass.
  • A leader should never give up on anyone.
  • They are not judgmental, and they show an equal loyalty to everyone.
  • The leader knows that some people will fight them every step of the way, but they also know that they have to take that player with them.
  • Leaders have to make uncomfortable decisions that will cause people to dislike them. Their job is not to be everyone’s friend.
  • Their job is to lead.



Original Post: http://www.theartofcoachingvolleyball.com/4-traits-needed-for-a-championship-team/


5 Ideas to Develop Relentless Competitors

5 Ideas to Develop Relentless Competitors

By: Jeff Janssen

Tired of dealing with too many wimpy, soft, and entitled athletes who don't know what it means to compete?

Former UConn men's basketball coach Jim Calhoun once lamented after a frustrating loss, "I was embarrassed by the way we played, by the way we didn't compete. We did not compete the way we need to compete. Given the schedule we're playing, you need to compete every single night."

Have you too lost games and championships because your athletes didn't compete with the intensity and intelligence you needed them to?

Coaches are becoming increasingly frustrated and disheartened by the lack of competitiveness shown by too many of today's athletes. With the current culture of entitlement that has evolved and overtaken today's youth, many athletes seem to expect that starting positions and championships will simply be handed to them, rather than working hard and fighting for the very limited opportunities that are available.

As Indiana men's basketball coach Tom Crean says, "In our entitlement culture today, young athletes grow up assuming they deserve things without having to work or compete for them. Then, when they enter the competitive arena, and things don't go their way, they blame someone else for their shortcomings. Such players give a team no chance to succeed."

Taken from my new book How to Develop Relentless Competitors, here are five proven strategies used by legendary coaches Pat Summitt, Geno Auriemma, Anson Dorrance, Pete Carroll, and Roy Williams to transform your passive, soft, and entitled athletes into fierce, focused, and relentless Competitors.

1. Look for Competitors when recruiting and assembling your team.

Like any important intangible in the sports world (leadership, commitment, confidence, character, mental toughness, unselfishness), it is much easier to enhance and refine something that is already there than to try to create it from scratch. The best way to develop Competitors is to use it as a key criterion in your recruiting and selection process. Thus, be on the lookout for Competitors in your recruiting and tryouts. Purposely include highly competitive drills and see how the athletes respond to competitive situations. Of course you are looking for talent, but also be on the lookout for Competitors. Tennessee women's basketball coach Pat Summitt says, "I look for Competitors when I am recruiting. I look for players from winning programs because I know they've been in competitive situations, and they've won and they understand how to win."

2. Create your own Competitive Cauldron to continually challenge your athletes.

North Carolina women's soccer coach Anson Dorrance says, "In order to improve, to foster competitive drive, you must consistently push yourself to places that aren't so comfortable. That's how you learn to steel and toughen yourself, and to 'break' your opponent." Dorrance intentionally sets up a competitive culture with his team through his famous Competitive Cauldron, a practice environment where almost every drill is a competition.

UConn women's assistant basketball coach Shea Ralph notices the same demanding style in Geno Auriemma, "He is the ultimate competitor. He puts the pressure on kids every day. He stays on them and that helps instill the competitive attitude. Because they know they are not getting away with anything. There is pressure on them every day to give their best."

Are you positively pushing your players to test their limits? The most successful coaches are highly demanding of their athletes. You have to find the fine line between pushing them to achieve their potential, without breaking them. When they compete and surpass their previous expectations and barriers, they will have the confidence to compete in the future.


3. Make your practice drills competitive whenever possible.

Former USC football coach Pete Carroll emphasized competitiveness so much that he created "Competition Tuesday." Every Tuesday during the season the team would engage in competitive drills and scrimmages. The first team offense would compete against the first team defense. Players were also allowed to create "Matchups of the Day" where receivers would challenge cornerbacks and defensive lineman would challenge offensive tackles. The competitive environment ratcheted up the intensity of practices to a high level.

4. Track and post the results of your drills in practices and games.

There is something about tracking and posting the results of practices and competitions that really brings out the competitiveness in people. North Carolina men's basketball coach Roy Williams says that one of the pivotal moments in his life came when his third grade teacher wrote the names of the ten kids with the highest grades on the blackboard. Coach Williams says, "When I first saw that list, I was not on it. But when I saw that list and looked at it for six weeks, I made sure that the next six weeks my name was first on the list. And I made sure it stayed there the rest of the way."

Learning lessons from this early experience, Coach Williams and his staff still meticulously track the results of practices and games and post them to motivate the team.

Former Carolina player Tyler Hansbrough says, "To make practices more competitive, make everything a competition. Coach Williams is the ultimate competitor. He tracked the scores of everything we did. We had a white team vs. a blue team and everything we did was competitive.

5. Establish consequences for winning and losing drills and contests.

To continually remind your athletes that something is at stake, establish some kind of consequences for the winners and/or losers of your drills and contests. Assistant Tennessee women's basketball coach Dean Lockwood says, "After EVERY competitive drill or practice segment, we reward the drill winners and 'penalize' the drill losers. The penalty may be a set of sprints, push-ups, crunches or some physical exercise of which they are least fond. We never berate the losers (we may chide them good-naturedly) but our players simply know that after certain drills there will be 'winners and losers'. This sends a very clear message that practice life is much better and more enjoyable when you win all competitive segments."



Original Post: http://www.championshipcoachesnetwork.com/public/433.cfm


8 Ways to Become a Better Teammate

8 Ways to Become a Better Teammate

From Upward.org

Basketball great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar once said “One man can be a crucial ingredient to a team, but one man cannot make a team.” It’s important to take heed to his words. Teams are most successful when they join together to become more than a collection of individuals, but a unified group of athletes seeking one purpose: team success.

There are plenty of examples in the sports world of both good and bad teammates. The bad ones usually have some combination of laziness, selfishness, arrogance, and apathy. What exactly embodies a good teammate? What are the qualities and traits that make an athlete someone that their teammates not only enjoy being around, but also contribute to the success of the team? Here are 8 things you can do:

1)   LISTEN WELL: Be coachable, take constructive criticism from teammates

2)   BE ACCOUNTABLE: Admit mistakes and improve, take responsibility, never throw teammates under the bus

3)   HAVE A GOOD ATTITUDE: Focus on continually improving, have a positive outlook on the team and the season

4)   COMPLIMENT TEAMMATES: Makes a big deal out of the good play of teammates/make a small deal out of their mistakes

5)   BE FAMILY: Treat teammates like family on and off the court, be quick to forgive and love unconditionally

6)   WORK HARD: Be better today than you were yesterday, go the extra mile at practice

 7)   SHARE IN THE VISION: Unify personal goals with team goals, help teammates buy in to team goals and vision

 8)   SACRIFICE: Give up personal glory for team success, serve your teammates with humility



Original Post: http://www.upward.org/blog/articles/8-ways-to-become-a-better-teammate