Archive for “Pride” Tag

Why Performance Training Alone isn’t enough For Young Athletes

 

By Melissa Lambert

Young athletes require more than physical training

As a former collegiate athlete, I remember spending my off seasons training every opportunity I had including weight lifting, running and playing with the men’s team to increase my speed of play. I took pride in having the top times in running and physically being able to outplay others. However, I remember playing our rival team and making a huge mistake that could have resulted in the other team scoring. What could have possibly gone wrong when I was in the best shape of my life? I neglected the most significant component of an athlete; my mind. The mental aspect of any sport can make or break a talented athlete regardless of their training regiment. I didn’t spend nearly the amount of time training my mind as I did training my body.

It wasn’t until becoming a girls’ premier soccer coach and a licensed therapist that I realized how much of performance was based on mental skills. More of my time was spent off the practice field counseling my young athletes than actually playing. Coaches expect players to be ready to perform and leave all baggage behind, but if the athlete lacks mental toughness they will not see peak performance. Sport Psychologist, Gary Mack, defines the seven characteristics associated with mental toughness:

Competitive: An athlete who does whatever it takes to win and will go the extra mile for a team. As a coach or fitness professional, observe whether your athletes’ fight for the ball after making a mistake or give-up.

Confident: An athlete believes he or she can’t be stopped. These athletes believe in their abilities and don’t allow self-defeating thoughts to take over.

Control: Mentally tough athletes have control of their emotions and behaviors. They won’t allow coaches, players and parents to get into their head.

Committed: An athlete who is highly motivated will avoid letting outside distractions deter them from their goals. As a coach it’s important to observe the commitment of each individual athlete to themselves and to their team.

Composure: Mentally tough athletes who can deal with adversity and stay focused under pressure. Those athletes who lack faith in their abilities have more trouble managing their emotions.

Courage: Athletes who believe in themselves are more likely to take a risk. In order to improve individually and as a team an athlete must step out of their comfort zone.

Consistency: An athlete can play their best on the worst day. They possess inner strength to block thoughts that would negatively impact performance.

What coaches don’t realize is how much work goes into developing mentally tough young athletes and the impact of environmental influences. The most significant factor in preventing an athlete from being mentally tough is known as negative cognitions or thoughts.
As humans we all have core beliefs about the way we see ourselves, others and the world based on life experiences.
Young athletes who lives in the inner city is going to see the world differently than other young athletes who lives in a rural environment.

A therapeutic tool I commonly use with both my young patients and athletes is cognitive mapping. The athlete would identify a series of events, followed by their thoughts, feelings, behaviors and consequences. The athlete would be able to visually see how a particular event led to a specific thought.
For example, a 13 year old male basketball player missed the winning foul shot and thought he must be a horrible athlete. As a result he may have felt depressed or angry, which resulted in giving up. The consequence was sitting the bench for not working hard after making a mistake. However, if the athlete was able to recognize the belief “I am a horrible athlete” as being irrational and change his thought about the experience, his feeling would also change.

 

Coaches can support their young athletes by encouraging them to set daily or short-term goals that are measurable.

Children specifically like to set long-term goals like winning a conference championship or setting new personal records but lack action steps to get there. As a coach, be sure to know the goals of your young athletes and check in frequently on their progress.
It is also important to stress the power of control each athlete carries as an individual and as a team. It is guaranteed mistakes will be made; however are your young athletes responding by working harder or giving up? Mentally tough young athletes have the ability to control their thoughts from becoming self-defeating.
A baseball pitcher may walk a batter, but how he perceives the situation will impact the outcome of his next series of pitches.
Coaches play an intricate role in helping to develop mentally sound athletes at any level whether it’s recreational or an elite program. Studies have proven that mental training will not only enhance performance and improve productivity but increase one’s passion or enjoyment of the sport. However, achieving inner excellence takes time and effort in the same manner as physical training.

One of the biggest mistakes coaches make is having the need to improve performance solely through training and play. Realistically, ask yourself whether it’s your need that’s getting met or the need of your Young Athletes. If you coach a high school team and have practice the week of finals, be attentive to their emotions and take time to address what’s on their mind. Performance training and talent can only go so far without the ability to conquer self-defeating thoughts.

 

young athletesMelissa Lambert
LPC, M.Ed, YFS1, YNS, HSSCS
Child and Adolescent Therapist

IYCA: More, Much More

"The IYCA is unmatched as it pertains to the curriculum and practical application of its information. Since obtaining my Youth Fitness Specialists certification I have encountered several opportunities to stand as the expert of youth fitness in my area. The highlight was running a speed and agility camp with over 250 athletes from one of the top 2 soccer clubs in Texas. With my education from the IYCA, I’m confident that I’m, without a doubt, the most qualified youth coach in my area… hands down"

 

That was from my great friend and IYCA Family Member, Donovan Owens.

 

"Brian, our organization is a fantastic one. I say "our" because you and you supporting cast have made me feel like an important part of it since day one. That is not an easy thing to feel when you go to your first seminar as green as May grass! In a short year and a half I am viewed as an expert and respected as leading authority in my community as a youth conditioning specialist all because of the IYCA. The leadership I have witnessed and the education I have been empowered by are worth their weight in gold. I truly love when someone asks me where I got my education. I say " The IYCA" with
stout pride. I cannot convey what it means to me."

 

That, from the incredible Dale Speckman.

 

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Coaching Young Athletes and my Memories

 

 

Coaching Young Athletes

 

It truly is sad that my full-time coaching young athletes days are behind me.

 

I love to Coach.

 

I love it from every aspect and angle.

 

The relationships you build with your athletes.

 

The friendships you develop with their families.

 

The sense of pride you get from watching your athletes succeed.

 

The feelings of intense dedication you get from working "over-time"
trying to figure out how to communicate better with some of the
kids in your care.

 

I’ve been blessed to an extraordinary level and will always wear the
brand of "Coach" with great pride and distinction.

 

But the IYCA has taken my career a different direction.

 

No less exciting.

 

No less fulfilling.

 

And certainly no less challenging.

 

But I admit to longing for the days of waking up at the crack of dawn
and meeting my sleepy-eyed, yet eager athletes at the gym for a
spirited morning session.

 

I miss everything about being a full-time Coach.

 

And that’s why I’m going to indulge you (or perhaps it’s you indulging
me!) over the next few days with stories and recounts of some of the
most memorable days I spent when my name wasn’t "Brian Grasso"
"CEO" or "Founder".

 

I was known simply by one word…

 

 

"Coach"

 

 

It’s going to be a bittersweet stroll down memory lane for me, to be sure,
but one that;

I guarantee will entertain and be laced with lessons that you
can use in your own coaching young athletes practice.

 

In the meantime, indulge me with a quick story about your coaching life.

 

A funny tale.

 

Serious lesson you learned.

 

Anything you choose to share.

 

I will be reading with great enthusiasm and a touch of envy.

 

Tell me a quick story about your coaching days below –

 

13-years of in the trenches are over, but the culmination of the
lessons I learned and information I’ve gathered is alive and well.

 

Click here to understand more about what I’ve learned from my
"in the trenches" training and coaching experience

 

The Growth & Pride of the IYCA

 

 

"I would suggest that one of the greatest decisions that I have made in my life was to take the IYCA Youth Fitness Certification course that you offer"

 

– Bob Acton

 

Become a IYCA Youth Fitness Specialist – Level 1 today and join the movement!

 

 

Kids Fitness Professionals: 3 Words to Change Your Life

 

 

Kids Fitness coaching principles

Here they are –

 

1) Integrity

 

Personal honor, consistence in applying your personal values

to every action.

 

Every young person I train is important.

 

They require and deserve attention and my very best.

 

In the highest value of integrity, I care deeply about every single

young athlete I have ever worked with and given them everything

I had in order to make them better.

 

I applied the same sense of integrity when creating the IYCA.

 

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Coaching Young Athletes – Your Passion or Job?

Coaching Young Athletes Can Be So Rewarding.

“We made it to the State Quarterfinals for two consecutive years.
This had never been done before in school history”
 

I would say that’s the crowning achievement of my career.
 

I’ve trained Olympic athletes.
 

Highly paid professionals from various sports.
 

National Team competitors from all over North America and
Europe.
 

But I have never been more honored or filled with pride than I
was when I received a letter from the head football coach of
a high school program I volunteer for.
 

The quote above was part of that letter.
 

There is something uniquely special about working with and coaching Young Athletes.

 

So much so that it’s left me sleepless tonight.
 

I’m writing this to you at 2:00am and am literally bursting at
the seams with energy and exuberance.
 

I don’t love my job.
 

I don’t love my career.
 

I love my place in the world.
 

My destiny and path.
 

To aid in the grooming and development of young men and women
through sport, but for the purpose of life preparation, is an
honor that cannot be described in words.
 

It is a calling.
 

Something you are compelled to do.
 

For years I have beencoaching young athletes and teams.
 

Over 15,000 to date and counting.
 

And I remember them all.
 

I stay in touch with as many of them as I can to this day.
 

They were not my clients and I there Trainer.
 

They were my focus and reason for getting out of bed every
morning.
 

For 14 years, I have not had one day of work.
 

I have had 5,110 days of enthusiastic joy, though.

 

This all may sound odd and a touch ‘mushy’ – but that is the
difference between a job and a passion.
 

My obligation to these kids far exceeds wanting them to get
faster and stronger.
 

It is in helping cultivate their futures.
 

And by default, the future of our world.
 

Yes, my young athletes are widely known as the fastest, strongest
and most injury resistant.
 

But they also are know to be the best students, most
trustworthy people and have gone on to have success in both
the sporting world and beyond.
 

It’s much more than speed training or understanding lifting
mechanics.
 

It’s about combining the best possible training methods with
a coaching system that truly helps young people reach for the
stars in every conceivable way.
 

My years of experience, trail and error, many mistakes and
re-evaluations have all been honed down into one system that
works – it works every time for any aged athlete in any sport.
 

It’s the entire system that has the right ingredients of speed,
strength, athletic development, agility and coaching.
 

I’ll never forget the look in the eyes of those 70+ high school
football players as they took the field for the State
Quarterfinals for the second year in a row.
 

It was over two years ago and I still get chills thinking about Coaching Young Athletes.
 

We lost that game.
 

But as several of the kids came off the field, crying with
disappointment, they sought me out, wrapped their arms around me
and said…
 

“Thanks Coach…. for everything”
 

That’s the difference between a passion and a job.

 

I’m going to be making Complete Athlete Development available
one last time at some point over the next couple of weeks.
 

I hope you can see how important an opportunity that is for you.
 

 

‘Till next time,