Coach Doc Connection Articles

Jumpstart Your Practices

The way you start practice sets the tone for the rest of the training session. The goal is to start practice, much like a competition, with enthusiasm and high energy. This builds positive momentum that will carry over into the rest of the practice, increasing the likelihood of having a quality training session with high athlete focus and engagement. Activate the Body and Mind In addition to the traditional time set aside prior to or at the start of a practice for physical warm-up, practices should also include a mental warm-up. Consider having athletes do a visualization exercise prior to...

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Prepare to Win Your Practices

As coaches we would never arrive at a competition without a detailed game plan, and simply put something together on the spot or improvise as the competition unfolds. Yet unfortunately, all too often I still observe coaches showing up to practices without having planned in advance. Just as they prepare a comprehensive plan to win the game, the best coaches also prepare detailed plans to win their practices. Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay, who has spearheaded the team’s remarkable turnaround, spends several hours meticulously planning and preparing for each practice session. And he’s gained considerable respect from his...

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Spreading Your Team Culture like a Virus

Team culture, an especially hot topic these days, matters because it directly impacts team performance, attitudes, motivation, relationships and everyday behaviors. No doubt your team has a culture - all teams do. Yet each culture is unique. Team culture is most simply described as ‘how we do things around here’, or, as the head coach and captain of a prominent national team recently put it, “it’s what we stand for.” The coach in particular speaks from experience, himself having played on a team that was once voted world team of the year. Is your team culture the one you really...

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Harness the Power of Player Progress

Nothing is more inspiring to players than signs of improvement. Evidence of increased competence is a fundamental driver of motivation and the first of the player development 4 C’s (competence, confidence, connection, character) I highlighted in Coaching Better Every Season. Yet, how often do we actually show our players that they are better at something than they were before? Typically, we rely solely on competition statistics (goals, assists, finish time, hits, shooting percentage, etc.) to determine and then convey performance gains. Although convenient and relatively easy, reliance on stats alone omits important opportunities to capture and share meaningful information with athletes...

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Winning after Winning: How to Approach the Season after a Championship

The long hours, countless sacrifices and dedication to intense training has paid off – your athletes have finally secured that elusive championship. As much as you try to avoid it, almost immediately talk turns to securing back-to-back titles. Chasing a title keeps athletes hungry and focused. But when a team becomes champion the chase is over, and suddenly it is now being chased. That can make the season following a championship very stressful for athletes and coaches alike. And, as a result, title-winning teams find it very hard to regain anything resembling championship form. To you and to the many...

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