Friday, August 31, 2012

Mental Toughness

I believe that mental toughness is at the heart of how far and athlete gets in reaching her potential and better yet, what her team is able to achieve through the course of our long season. Many coaches shy away of training this skill for a number of reasons. Maybe coaches believe an athlete either has it or she doesn't. Maybe coaches think that the way their workouts are designed is enough to challenge their players, or possibly we just aren't as confident in teaching how to improve the mind. Here is what I believe. Some athletes are born with mental toughness but can still improve this skill. Other athletes may not be as mentally tough but given the right sets of tools and situations can vastly improve, just like any skill. This is an area I am spending much more time with the team on so they have the tools that are needed when our athletes are in those mentally challenging situations. Today is our first session on one of our 4 C's, Confidence. I'll let you know how it went with a follow up blog on Monday! Have a great Labor Day weekend! -Coach Bin

Monday, August 27, 2012

Quick Tips from Alexa Dawkins

Im a freshman student-athlete here at Montana State University. I'm super excited about this upcoming year and the incredible opportuinty ahead of me. This past summer I was enrolled in two class at MSU, which gave me a little bit of a head start with the whole "college expierence". That being said, I have some advice for the freshman students on how to make your year a fun and memorable one. 1. Get involved in as much as possible. This creates opportunities for you to meet new people and know what's going on around campus. If you're shy and meeting new people and getting involved intimidates you don't be because truth is everyone is in the exact same position as you. 2. Check out all the dining halls on campus, the two that I know of are Miller and Hannon. If you had to choose between the two I would definitely encourage you to eat in Hannon... The food is VERY delicious! If you're not into the dining halls there are other popular food places close to campus like Town and Country AKA TnC, Pickle Barrel, and Junga Juice. 3. Since we are in a very outdoorsy place people love to ride their bikes everywhere... all I have to say is watch out for the BIKERS!!! You're a little safer in the summer, but in the winter when it's icy be aware!!! If you're reading this and you're a frequent biker no offense! :) 4. Winter in Montana lasts about six plus months which makes walking to class in the snow a little difficult. I would strongly suggest that you have at least one pair of snow boots to wear to class in the winter months. If you're worried about looking cute, don't because you can most defintely find some fashionable snow boots! 5. Come out and support your athletic teams! The more fans the better and the more exciting the games will be. First football game is this Thursday at 7pm under lights, which is the first time in MSU history. So come out and show love to all of Montana States athletic programs. I hope my advice was entertaining as well as helpful and wish all of you the best of luck this year! Go Bobcats! -Alexa Dawkins #22

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Defining Success

Witnessing some of this media coverage over the Olympics has me wanting to defend these Olympians as much as I would want to protect my own children. The latest critics ripped Lolo Jones for finishing fourth in the 100M hurdles. As a former athlete I find Lolo's accomplishment absolutely remarkable. Is the Gold medal how we define success rather than the injuries and personal challenges Lolo has overcome?
We can learn a lot from these inspiring athletes and their stories. Such as Harper and Wells showing enthusiasm, love for their country, and gratitude for the opportunity to compete and coming home with the Silver and Bronze with such pride. But also true sportsmanship, congratulating the incredible performance by Sally Pearson who broke the Olympic Record. (Our Aussie players will appreciate that shout out!) As we are watching these amazing athletes and undoubtedly hope for the best, we should congratulate their story of success, no matter the medal or lack there of and more importantly remember to support those who fall short of their dreams. Take a page from Pistorius. That was the most touching post event interview I have seen to date because of his ability to see and articulate what success means. I am proud to be an American and am watching as closely as anyone with the hopes that the USA wins the most Gold medals. As a coach, I believe in pushing athletes to their full potential and challenging them to be more mentally tough. But as a fan of these Olympians, I believe they have achieved this, thus they are representing our great country. Olympians put themselves out there and sacrifice more than most of us could imagine. Let's not criticize them. Let's change the culture that only defines success by winning a Gold. What if our media more often researches what is deeper than the clock, the score, and the Gold medal, and sticks to every individuals story of success? Isn't that what we want to hear? The success of an Olympic champion, as defined by the story of their lives. Coach Bin

Monday, August 6, 2012

Parent Hat

This week my family returned from recruiting and vacationing in California. It was the last week of summer school for our team (great job ladies) and the Montana Coaches Clinic was being held in Great Falls. Justin started basketball camp and Brooklyn had her four year old birthday party coming up Saturday so getting all of these things in took only one extra ice tea a day. At basketball camp I would sneak in to the Fieldhouse to see how Justin was doing and then head back to my office. I may have yelled at one point for him to get back on defense while trying to keep my mouth shut and let his camp coach do the coaching. Emily or "Elmo" Allen was his coach which in his words was "awesome". By the end of the week the campers were worn out, and I think Justin broke a world record on how many popsicles you can eat during the week. Can I brag as a parent and tell you he also hit the game winning shot! Great Falls was also a success as we got to connect with a ton of our Montana High School Coaches, my staff all received roses from our good friend Larry Aasheim of Universal Athletics, and I finally remembered who "Pepper" was and I am not talking about the spice. He works at Universal and apparantly I worked with him at Utah State. Don't get him started on that. Then my last minute planning for Brooklyn's party came. Todd roles his eyes at me a lot when I say one thing and do another. I can't imagine why. This time it was because I said we would do a small party and in return I kept "running" into people that Brooklyn would enjoy having her party with so I invited them. As it turns out, our house can hold around 50 people. If any of you bake cakes as well as I do, PLEASE go to Big Sky Bakery for some help as Kristen Priebe made Brooklyn the prettiest pink barbie cake ever. By the end of the night we were all at the park playing basketball. This is the perfect level of competition for me these days although I still had to ice afterward. What do you define as success? My players would tell you to "put yourself and your team in every possible situation to be successful and then persevere in those situations." I would tell you that your kids had smiles on their faces and you had enough food to feed 50 people. Coach Bin