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Showing posts from December, 2019

Effort, Teamwork, and Leadership

The three main things needed to maximize a team's performance are effort, teamwork and leadership.

Let me start with effort. For a team to play its best, every player needs to give their best effort. In other words, in order for a team to reach peak performance, each player must reach peak performance, and this starts with effort. 
One thing that prevents a team from giving their best effort is social-loafing, which is when athletes give less effort because they think their teammates will pick up the slack. To play your best as a team, you can't let social-loafing happen. You can't rely on your teammates to carry most of the load. Every player must give their absolute best effort in order to maximize the team's performance. Everyone should be motivated to do their part to make this happen.

But it is not enough just to have each player give their best effort. You can't just work hard individually. You also have to work hard TOGETHER! Everyone's effort needs to be p…

Understand Your Opponent's Motivations

It can be helpful to understand your opponent's motivations. Many times, an athlete or a team will be very motivated heading into a game. They may think their level of motivation is enough for them to win the game. However, they may not know that their opponent is even more motivated. If they understand their opponent's motivations, they can know whether they need to dig a little deeper to find more motivation.

The goal is to match or surpass your opponent's level of motivation each game. When you understand your opponent's level of motivation, you can use this knowledge as a yardstick and a goal to help you reach your ultimate goal, which is to give your maximum level of motivation. Here are some examples of how understanding your opponent's motivation can help you.

If you know your opponent wants revenge from last year's loss, you can match or surpass their level of motivation by telling yourself, "I know they want revenge, but we want even more to extend …

Adversity Training

The mentally toughest and most resilient people have had a good amount of adversity in their lives (but not too much). It is their overcoming of adversity that has made them mentally strong. However, most of the time, the adversity that makes people strong is not chosen voluntarily. Nobody desires to get cut from their high school team. Nobody desires to live through poverty. Nobody desires to experience losses and tough times. We appreciate the mental toughness we gain from adversity, but we would rather not have to go through adversity in order to gain mental toughness. Is there a way to gain mental toughness without the costs of real adversity. I believe there is a way. I call it adversity training.

Adversity training is when you purposely place yourself in adverse situations (in a safe, controlled way) in order to train your mental toughness. Many athletes love to be in their comfort zones. They want everything to be perfect. They want their equipment to be perfect. They want the w…

5 Bad Attitudes to Watch Out For

I've written before about the importance of attitudes and how they influence our thoughts, behavior, and outcomes. Today, I want to talk specifically about five attitudes that I believe are bad and lead to negative thoughts, behavior, and outcomes.

1. A fixed mindset and an external locus of control
These attitudes are similar enough, so I'll talk about them together. A fixed mindset is a belief that most of your traits (skills, strength, speed, intelligence) are fixed, meaning you're born with them and can't do anything to improve them. This belief discourages you from improving yourself. It also causes you to always protect your ego, which can make you a bad teammate and deal poorly with competition.
Similarly, an external locus of control is a belief that external forces such as genes, other people, and your environment mainly control your outcomes in life. This attitude, like a fixed mindset, gives yourself little agency to control your life, therefore it decreases co…

Book Review: Raise Your Game by Alan Stein Jr.

Raise Your Game by Alan Stein Jr is structured into three parts. First, Stein teaches about five of the most important traits for athletes, which are self-awareness, passion, discipline, coachability, and confidence. Next, the book goes over five of the most important traits for coaches, which are vision, culture, servant, character, and empowerment. Lastly, Stein shows how athletes and coaches can work together to form high performing teams that are greater than the sum of their parts. According to Stein, the five most important characteristics of teams are belief, unselfishness, role-clarity, communication, and cohesion.

On a macro-level, I really like this book, because it gives you clear guidelines of what makes a high functioning team. By learning what characteristics great teams consist of and how they are formulated, you can take direct action to improve. This book is equally great for players and coaches, and it also can be applied outside of sports.

However, I do have some crit…

Patience vs Urgency

Long term success requires a balance of patience and urgency. You can't be too patient, or else you won't work hard enough to reach your goals. And your sense of urgency can't be too strong, or else you'll overdo it, which can lead to injuries and burnout.

Having the ideal balance of patience and urgency is what you want. You've got to work hard almost every day to reach your goals, but you also got to live to see another day and understand that an athletic career is a long journey. If you're planning on playing competitively into your late thirties (or beyond), that's a lot of time. When you see the bigger picture, you realize that it's OK to fail, and that it's OK to take time to rest and enjoy the moment. You'll have plenty of time to bounce back, work hard, and succeed.

But at the same time, know that sports are extremely competitive, and that if you don't work hard enough, you'll get passed, so you need a healthy amount of urgency to …