Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Preparing Your Team Mentally For The Big Game

An all star or travel team’s mental state is a major contributing factor of whether or not they reach their goals. Whether the opponent is weak or strong if your team believes they can win they will be up for the game. Coaches sometimes mistakenly try to pump their team up for a big game. I believe players (and coaches) should treat each game the same. Provided that you prepared them physically through solid practice… If they believe they are good enough to be successful that is all the game prep they need.

When coaches tell players that they have to “play the best game they can in order to win” that’s when teams usually get into trouble. When players try to push it past what they are able to do… that’s when you start to see the mistakes. Good teams lose because most players don’t react well to pressure from parents and coaches. Kids will “check out” when you put it in their minds that they have to perform flawlessly to succeed... that they have to play the best game possible.

So what to do? Keep it light but focused. Reinforce that they are a good team. Tell that player who’s struggling at the plate that “you know he’s trying hard… relax, have fun and the hits will come”. If you’ve practiced and prepared your team for the big game then they are ready. After that the two “C’s” are the most important factors to success.. Concentration & Confidence. So before the big game lighten things up with a fun team activity and think of creative ways to bring out the two “C’s”. Then rest assured you are giving them the best prep you can.

Coach Bob


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