Do you ever leave practice promising tomorrow is the day to coach your athletes better? For example, the day before, the bar is set high, but for some reason the day of, you repeat many of the same debilitating habits that hinder any progress. Sound familiar? One common reason for this is not being mentally present. Our brains loosen and wander either ahead to wishes of the future, or behind to things of the past. So let’s take a look at ideas to combat this, and construct a plan for more modern and effective coaching techniques.
Improving yourself will improve your athletes
Do you catch yourself reacting out of frustration and then making negative comments to your athletes? We’ve all done this! Unfortunately, this may cause an athlete to become discouraged and most likely withdraw from participation. A few critical words can scar a child as their brains take these words to be truth. On the other hand, if you create effective and rewarding experiences, a positive association is made with participation, in turn supporting the chances of your athlete continuing the sport.
One key element is to hone your self-regulating skills
Dan Siegel, a psychologist from UCLA and the author of The Mindful Brain, explains that mindful awareness allows us to wake up from a life on automatic, and become open to new ways of being and responding. Cultivating mindfulness in coaching can increase one’s ability to pause, reflect, and respond skillfully. It allows for better self-regulation, reduced stress, and breeds a more efficient training environment.
Mindfulness will help you avoid the burnout barrier
As we know, burnout can stem from feeling unmotivated and uninspired. Mindfulness can reduce the sensation of burnout and also allow you to model balance and healthy choices for your athletes. By staying present and aware of the changing needs of your athletes, you can keep things fresh and exciting. In this way, you can avoid the long-term negative consequences of reactive coaching, maintain more athletes, and increase overall productivity.
Going for grace will manifest grit
Mindfulness is like breaking through a mental barrier. Things that used to seem mundane or overwhelming, can be experienced with a new attention. For coaches and athletes that spend hours practicing every day, implementing mindfulness can increase enjoyment and cultivate gratitude for the opportunity to participate in athletics. Research has shown when we are gracious, we become more resilient.
In summary, staying present and mindful can have very positive impacts for BOTH the coach and the athlete. Coaches are highly influential. If we can build self-aware leaders in sport, this will ultimately create more self-aware, healthy, and balanced athletes, who feel empowered and able to reach their fullest potential.