With the season nearing an end within the next couple months, it's very important to remain mentally strong as a coaching staff and as a team. This starts with each individual on the team and there are no exceptions for anyone. Coaches: understand that games are oftentimes lost because of lack of focus and seasons can be lost due to mental focus.
Dr. Dish Basketball understands that coaches face many uphill battles when it comes to training, coaching, and motivating players. Thats why we have tried our best to be a one-stop shop for everything coaches need. We have been fortunate enough to work with some of the best coaches in professional and in college basketball and also the best skills trainers around. The feedback and suggestions we get from them has helped us mold into what we are now!
Check out these four ways to help keep your players mentally prepared as the season nears it's end.
Many times as the season comes to an end players will lose focus of what the goals for the season were. Remember that most teams won't reach their goal of winning a conference championship or state title, but accomplishing some of the smaller goals set during the year can help keep players focused. Game by game goals can help keep players mentally focused on whats ahead and not what happened in the past. If your team is having an amazing year it will always make things easier and motivating players can be a less daunting task. If your team has a real chance to win a championship, make sure to let them know how special the opportunity is and that this is a chance to leave their legacy on the program.
Each player should have the opportunity to self reflect on where they're at physically and mentally during the season. This can be with a parent or the coach in a one on one setting. Self-evaluation is a great way to get players to open up about how they feel and allow them to get things off their chest. A player's perspective is much different then a coach's so this is a great chance to see your team from a players point of view. Ask open ended questions so players don't feel boxed in and allow them to have input in the discussion. When players feel their needs are met and that they have a voice, they are more likely to stay engaged and mentally focused especially at the end of the year.
One of the simplest but hardest ways to stay mentally strong during the season is through positivity. Positive thinking is crucial for any team in any situation. If you can get your players to look at the silver lining in everything they will understand that the season isn't dictated or determined by one game. The season is built on day to day actions and decisions. Positive thinking is contagious and its a great way to keep players focused and working hard. Coaches: Try your best to bring positivity to every practice, every film session, and every game. Kids now-a-days have a tough time reacting to negative coaches and players. Obviously criticism and correction are inevitable but it's important to understand time and place. If you promote positive thinking your players will never feel like practice is a waste of time or a season is lost because they see the bright side of things. This can make a losing season seem less disastrous and will help keep your players mentally strong!
The last way you can help keep your players mentally strong towards the end of the season is by making sure they are having fun. Make sure to promote competition and challenge players to compete. Make sure to incorporate fun drills that get players hyped and going to keep players dialed in. It doesn't matter if you're winning or losing, practice can be tough for players at the end of the year. By keeping kids engaged and motivated they will fire each other up and you will get the most out of them throughout the entire practice which will lead to better game performance. It's hard to avoid those 2 hr practices where you're running through offensive and defensive sets and also prepping for your opponent but try your best to shake things up and keep it fresh. This way players will focus when you really want them to!
The season is a long haul and can be tough at times but one thing is for sure, training hard and the right way will help teams achieve their goals. Learning never stops and everyday is an opportunity to get better and be better.