Saturday, March 3, 2012

Coaching Tips For The Big Game


Emotions and sports is a perfect illustration of the familiar proverbial fit of the hand into the glove, representing a perfect alliance or interacting which is beneficial for both. However, when the fit begins to wobble, one side beginning to outweigh the other, it often ends in catastrophic results. How do you maintain balance?

Let's back up a moment and explain the concept of balance between the sport and the emotions created by the sport. For instance, the school's baseball team will play for, it's first ever, StateChampionship and you have the inside track of being chosen the starting pitcher.
Regardless of a player's age, this type of scenario will create waves of raging emotions, from ecstasy to scared to death, all in the same moment, all very normal and human like. It's how we handle the scenario which dictates our well being.

For example, if we allow the swirling, at times chaotic, events associated with a huge sports event to negatively affect our concentration, sleep, work habits or focus, we have allowed the emotional side of the equation to outweigh the game, or it could be argued the game has resulted in forcing an imbalance in emotion vs. game. In any event, regardless of cause, the equation is not balanced and the results are " loss of focus, fatigue resulting from emotional highs and lows and an increasing amount of self doubt, either real or imagined."

Unbridled or misdirected emotional and mental highs have the direct affect on the body and mind as actually playing the game. If you can imagine the physical and emotional drain on the body by playing a critical "Win or go Home" game every day prior to the Championship game day, you begin to realize the damage which can be done.

This exact scenario, because it deals with human behavior, affects Professional athletes as well as young players, so why should we try to reinvent the wheel when the Pros have spent tons of cash to address the problem.

Step One: It's no secret to your players or fans this is a huge upcoming game with severe consequences one way or the other, so don't try to act like it's no big deal or no different than any other game. It is!

The important issue to stress is the elements which got you to the Championship game, hitting, pitching and fielding, are the exact elements which will win you the game. Therefore practices, although intense, must remain normal. You may tweak the practice, put importance on fielding bunts due to your opponent's tendency to capitalize on that tactic, but other than that, normal BP and etc.
Your team must feel they already possess the skills to defeat their opponent, which as always needs fine tuning, but don't risk planting any doubt that perhaps they are weak in an area. Don't openly put special importance on your relief pitcher putting self-doubt into your starter. "Normal" is the word of the week.

Step Two: Although professional sports have dealt with the issue of media exposure, this is relatively a new distraction for amateur sports, but the explosion in media avenues, from normal sports media of television and newspapers to You Tube, the Internet and etc., has created a concern.

Bad mouth taunting through Twitter, texting or a Blog can create an emotional whirlwind within the team, and can destroy an entire years work of instilling emotional control. Warn the team of the possibility of such an attack by their opponents or their fans and issue orders to:

A. Report them to you...
B. Ignore the taunts and don't retaliate, explaining that is the best method for frustrating the other side...ignore them.
These two tips may seem insignificant in the overall scheme of things, but don't underestimate their importance. Professional teams have Closed Practices, Designated Media Exposure Time, Team Rules and Curfews which are designed to keep the team on an even keel.

Why teach a player to field or hit like a professional and not how to handle stress like a professional?
Jim Bain, former Minor league baseball player and member of "Baseball Coaches of America" shares his advice on baseball coaching baseball drills on his exciting info packed website:
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1 comment:

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