This article was originally published in Soccer Today on November 6, 2020.
Help! I’m a Coach and Want to Teach the Mental Game – Part III
By Bryan Price, Ph.D.
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 no doubt study the latest trends in strategy, formations, and styles of play to stay one step ahead of the competition on the pitch.
But if you’re like most coaches, you probably don’t know where to turn for help on the mental game.
Even though U.S. Soccer has designated the psychological component as the 4th pillar of player development, it is the one that is the most difficult for coaches to develop and the pillar that has the fewest resources for coaches and players.
And yet, that...
What an epic surprise!!!!
I’ve been working with Callie O’Connell, a 8th-grade volleyball player from Abilene, TX, and an all-around awesome kid.
For the last six months, we’ve worked together on the mental game and she’s been one of my most favorite athletes to work with. Smart, motivated, energetic, and a complete sponge when it comes to ways in which she can improve her performance on the court and in life.
Because she’s so awesome, I wanted to do something special for our last session. In our first session back in March, I asked her who her favorite player was, and without hesitation, she said Hannah Lockin (now Sedwick), the All-American setter for the Baylor University volleyball team. That’s the same Baylor team that went to the Final Four last year.
So I threw a Hail Mary and tried to get on all of Hannah Sedwick’s social media feeds. I sent her my odd request via Twitter messaging, about a week out from my last session with Callie....
Last February, I was asked to be one of three former collegiate athletes to speak to all of Seton Hall University’s Division-I athletes about leadership and life.
Overcoming a lot of self-doubt and limiting beliefs, I announced that I was willing to work with any team or athlete on their mental game. I didn’t know it then, but it was the start of Top Mental Game.
After the talk, several players and coaches came up and wanted to get started. One of those coaches was Coach Natalie Desjardins, the women’s golf coach. We met the next week in my office, and we collaborated on a set of team sessions based around various aspects of the mental game - mental toughness, self-talk, goal-setting, and visualization and imagery exercises.
A Year With Seton Hall Women’s Golf
I first spoke to the team on Feb 28, 2019. At the end of my first session, I said that I’d also be willing to work with any of the players one-on-one.