Coaching is a difficult job. Multi-tasking can wear you down and change your behaviors, emotions, personality, and coaching style. These changes in your life will have a negative impact on your players because they will feel your vibe. And sometimes, it is not you but your players.
Therefore, creating an energizing, inspiring, motivating, and encouraging environment for your athletes is critical in helping them reach their full potential.
Think of your practices as a safe zone- A place to vibe and flow.
By providing athletes with an encouraging and uplifting atmosphere, they’ll be able to focus better on their skills and preparation for competition with a positive attitude. Have your players sign a contract that says,
“Practice is all about learning, applying, and working hard. What we accomplish today sets the stage for a better, more developed athlete, person, and life for tomorrow. Because that is what we want to echo into eternity. Be positive, forget your worries, and let’s play and practice because all that matters is improving now.”- Jason Kelly.
What is Flow
One of the most effective ways for you and your team to stay inspired, energized, and focused is by creating “Flow.” The flow is a state where you are so involved and enjoying what you are doing that it distorts time. It is the process that time flies by when you are having fun or so interested in the activity.
In the flow state, the ego is disabled. When the ego switches on, tunnel vision occurs because you focus on physical aspects or other things beyond interest. Without ego, your brain becomes more conscious and creative and enjoys, so it hones in on skills, the game, or practice.
How to Achieve Flow
The first way to achieve flow is by understanding what distracts your mind. What is stealing your focus and attention? Technology is one of the biggest time bandits and greatest distractions of our day that diminishes the flow zone. It destroys mindfulness, focus, and concentration. Yet, these aspects are the keys to unlocking and entering the flow.
To create flow, you need to pay attention to your own life, not social media. You must be mindful of every pass your athletes make, every dribble they take, each swing of the bat, or every catch. When you are thinking about how you need to do other things, it clogs the flow.
Secondly, you must create a love for what your players are doing so they can be devoted entirely to the moment. Your players must understand that time is not significant. When you take out the time aspect, it leads to greater understanding and learning. In addition, it creates the mindset that they are using their own ability to improve at their time and pace, not for you or the ego.
Suppose a player tries to take a different route and learn as fast as possible. In this case, they will never improve their natural ability and evolution of learning. Consequently, your athlete will always try to take the quick route to learn a skill. Ultimately, this will lead to making mistakes. Not because they can’t learn it. Simply because they are learning incorrectly. Eliminate ego, and errors will diminish.
Now on the performance side, don’t make challenges greater than a player’s ability. And don’t make a skill greater than one can handle. Mistakes, errors, and failures are all disguised distractions that are the foundation for progression. You must educate your athletes that failures are stepping stones that lead to success.
Here are other ways to create an exciting and motivating environment.
Provide positive reinforcement to ensure athletes remain confident and focused on achieving their goals. Give constructive feedback to help athletes identify areas they need to improve in a non-judgmental way. Additionally, create an environment that encourages collaboration, communication, and trust. Be positive and supportive rather than too strict or critical.
Establish a balance between providing constructive criticism and allowing athletes to have freedom in practice and game situations. This way, athletes will be more confident to make plays and try new strategies without feeling like they’ll be reprimanded and forced and pressured to do it right. Reprimanding will only create stress.
Blend having fun and seriousness to maximize performance. When you take out the stress, performance increases, and players will be inspired and energized to play. Also, they will be in the flow. That is why friendly games and drills are fun and competitive at the same time, for example, dodgeball. Players give 100% to win and try new tricks and ways of moving that teach them new ideas. Ultimately, it does not matter who wins; everyone laughs from enjoyment, not who lost.
There is no reason to scream and yell at players for mistakes. Think about it, coach. If someone screams at you, does it make you play better or build stress and pressure? Your players will not play better when you yell or degrade them. Instead, you are creating fear for them that will make them play worse and carry that off the court.
Create team camaraderie. It’s vital to foster a sense of togetherness and to belong among the players. Do team-building activities to help build relationships and encourage players to work together on and off the playing field. This allows players to understand each other because sometimes, they don’t know another player’s life and stereotype them.
Have an atmosphere that encourages open communication. It is critical to inspire athletes, but the way to inspire is to listen. Athletes should be comfortable voicing their opinions and not afraid to speak up when they have questions or concerns. When your players ask questions, it is their inner ability to speak to you. They must guess what to do if you don’t listen to them. It de-energizes and lowers their confidence and ability.
Creating a positive, motivating atmosphere is essential to the success of any sports team. Remember, it is all about creating a vibe and flow. Coaches must send vibes to energize, motivate, and inspire. Doing this will create the flow needed for your players to improve and be the best they can be.