One of my favorite challenges as a head coach is to get my players to buy in to the importance of having GREAT habits as they are the catalyst to consistent performance. The other challenge is helping our student athletes figure out what habits they need in order to clear off the unnecessary stressors in their lives as they already have enough stress to begin with. Understanding your stressors are your own internal obstacles can sometimes be easily recognized but not easily overcome.
Let me tell you the major internal road blocks that coaches see daily.
- Fatigue-The organized athlete who has their "routines" down is able to get around 8-9 hours a sleep at night. Sleep does affect performance & your ability to focus. Stress is also an energy drainer whether it's the stress of your schedule, studies, or even practice.
- Conditioning-Think about your number 1 strength. How many times in a row can you do it? The elite athletes are in premier shape which allows them to repeatedly attack over & over again.
- Mental Toughness-Some have it naturally, others develop this skill over the course of their careers. When you don't have it, you focus on how tough the drill is, how stressful the environment, the call that didn't go your way. When you have this skill you turn every obstacle into your advantage, "bring it on," "I want the ball in my hands," "what call?". The great have short term memories to begin with, block out the outside, and focus on the only things that allow them to get from point A to point B. Work on this daily, your inner voice. Put yourself in these situations to work through how you WANT to handle the situation. Visualize the way you should and want to respond.
Dan Hughes, my former Head Coach for the Cleveland Rockers, used to always say "play hard, play smart." I have used that line so many times with my team as it really is as simple as that. If you are able to compete consistently & you're able to focus on the details of execution at both ends, then you aren't losing focus mentally, you aren't losing composure with the play, and you aren't stressing about the situation.
Our team has seen both sides. We have seen what happens when we keep it simple & focus on the details, and we have been in the storm of unnessary burdens. All I can say is that I'd rather keep the umbrella at home & put on some sunscreen.