My experience in the federal government and as a strength and conditioning coach have allowed me to learn, apply, implement and adapt psychology techniques from my government training into sports psychology techniques I use with my athletes. Whether meeting and working with high-level managers or facing tactical, high-threat situations, I'm constantly learning what to do when a crisis presents itself. This often shapes and adjusts my psychological perspective on working with teams and/or athletes.
Coach-to-coach, coach-to-athlete and athlete-to-athlete relationships are vital for a team's success. (Read Mike Green on Team Unity.) To ensure these effective relationships, you need to promote effective teamwork in your strength and conditioning program. This can include clear differentiation between task and maintenance behaviors; various skills practice using problem solving techniques; and collaborative decision making and thinking. As the strength coach, if you promote these techniques, your athletes will adopt them. The trickledown-effect will ultimately lead to outstanding results.
A leader needs to know what results their followers are capable of producing. Start including challenges in your practices and team workout sessions to bring out the best in your players. For example, here is a basketball teambuilding workout you can try.
These exercises, which are psychologically exhausting, identify hidden assumptions, build prototypes and display everyone's different ideas and opinions, showing how a team can work together to accomplish hard tasks by incorporating various skills and techniques.
Set-up: create five groups of two athletes as partners. Assign two exercises to each group. Partners switch when time is up or designated sets/reps are completed.
- Group 1: first athlete performs Sled Pushes; second athlete does Sandbag Runs
- Group 2: first athlete performs Deadlifts; second athlete does Quick Foot Taps on Low Box
- Group 3: athletes rotate between Overhead Medicine Ball Throws against wall and quick Medicine Ball Chest Throws
- Group 4: first athlete performs Front Squats; second athlete does seated Hurdle Jumps
- Group 5: first athlete does ten Hill Sprints; second athlete pushes a weighted sled for sprints of 15- to 20-yards
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