Help! I’m a Coach and Want to Teach the Mental Game - Part II

If you’re a soccer coach, chances are you religiously keep up with the latest drills and methods to improve the technical and tactical aspects of your team. 

You want to know the latest trends in strategy, formations, and styles of play to stay one step ahead of the competition on the pitch. And, even though U.S. Soccer agrees that the psychological component is the 4th pillar of player development, there are very few quality resources for coaches and players.

Read: TEACHING THE MENTAL SIDE OF YOUTH SOCCER

In an article published last year on how the U.S. Women’s National Team was developing their mental game, the author discussed the important gap between recognizing mental strength training is important and providing the tools need to close this gap:

MOST SOCCER COACHES SAY ‘YES,’ MENTAL TRAINING IS IMPORTANT BUT WHEN ASKED IF THEY ACTUALLY PROVIDE ANY … THE ANSWER IS ALMOST ALWAYS ‘NO.’

But don’t panic. Soccer...

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5 Tips to Build Confidence For Returning Players

 

5 Tips to Build Confidence When Players Return
By Bryan Price

As various states lift restrictions to allow players back on the pitch, everyone associated with youth sports is understandably excited. Players are chomping at the bit to play, coaches can’t wait to get their teams back together, and parents yearn to cheer on their kids from the sideline once again.

But with that excitement comes some anxiety. It’s only natural.

For those near COVID-19 hotspots, shelter-in-place orders have kept players off the pitch for over 10 weeks. That’s a lot of rust to shake off, even if players managed to work out on their own.

So what can players do to get their minds right and return to the pitch with confidence?

1. Have a growth mindset

In her landmark book, Mindset, Dr. Carol Dweck examines what separates students who were able to quickly rebound from adversity versus those who could not. The difference was mindset.

Those who possessed a growth mindset were more likely to...

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What I’ve Learned After 200 Hours

When I sat down to do my weekly log of clients I’ve coached, I realized I’ve hit the 200-hour mark since I started Top Mental Game. Wow. That went fast. 

About half of those 200 hours were spent with Division-I athletes/coaches and the other half with elite high school athletes/coaches. 

I’ve been in front of approximately 500 student-athletes from 15 different teams in a variety of sports - golf, baseball, football, hockey, soccer, basketball, swimming, volleyball, wrestling, and softball.  

And I’ve worked one-on-one with athletes from California, Texas, New York, Massachusetts, Illinois, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Spain, and Italy. 

So here’s 5 things I’ve learned.

1. Many college and high school athletes lack the mental skills needed to cope with the pressures of competitive sports today. 

Even the most physically talented ones.

When I think about youth sports today compared to when I was a kid, there have been so...

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Process vs. Outcome Goals....and Your Self-Esteem

 

What is your big, hairy, and audacious goal (stealing Jim Collins’ great concept from his book, Good to Great)?

I bet you it is likely some type of outcome goal. An outcome goal is simply something that you’d like to achieve. Examples include earning a starting spot on your team, getting a college scholarship in your sport, or being named to your All-Conference team at the end of the year.

There is nothing wrong with outcome goals per se, but they can pose a serious threat to your self-esteem and your motivation to continue playing your sport if those are the only goals you are setting. 

Why do I say this? 

Because if you only have a list of outcome goals for you to achieve, you are more likely to internalize failure if you don’t end up achieving them. This is a particular problem for athletes who have difficulty differentiating their value as a person versus their value as an athlete. 

In other words, they have grown up believing, “I am...

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No greater joy.....

Is there anything better than watching your clients succeed even beyond their wildest dreams?!?

This weekend, two of my players had EPIC performances!

Maddie Sager (Sr, Phoenixville, PA) and Sarah Fouratt (So, Santa Maria, CA) just won the Nittany Lion Invitational at Penn State, besting 72 golfers from 12 other D-1 schools.

This is Maddie’s first-ever tournament win in college and she set a career low for a 3-round tournament, firing a 214.

It is also the first collegiate win for Sarah. But to do it, she had to shoot a 4-under 68, which turns out to be a Seton Hall record for a par-72 course and a career best for her, in the final round.

The best part? Both Sarah and Maddie (in the second pic) have been working with me since February to improve their mental game and to become the best version of themselves.

The pic of Maddie below is her SIX MONTHS AGO, listening to a personalized visualization recording of her “perfect round” that we collaborated on together. The...

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