posted on: February 14, 2014
author: Brian Lomax
It’s that time of the year in high school and college when practice for Spring sports is getting ready to start or has perhaps even just begun. It can be a nerve wracking time for some. There may be uncertainty as to whether you’ll play or where you might be in the lineup, and your fate isn’t always in your hands. You can perform your best in practice, but the final decision is often up to your coach or coaches, and some thought process that only they may be privy to. How do you feel about that?
Many athletes have no issue with this situation whatsoever. They perform their best in practice and they’re confident enough in themselves that they simply expect the coach to make the right decision. Usually the superstars of the team or the top players have this attitude. It’s helped them get to where they are.
But others may feel quite differently when playing in front of coaches including some superstars. The perceived lack of control over the decision of will they play or where will they play can cause anxiety. The build up to practicing in front of the coach becomes an event in itself because we feel like we have to impress them. We may even look at our coaches as mythical and unapproachable figures who are intimidating to talk to. However, the reality is often quite different.
If you find yourself having some anxiety with trying to impress your coaches, here are some suggestions:
1. Don’t impress, express yourself – You can’t control the thoughts of other people and that’s what you’re trying to do when you focus on impressing your coaches. Instead, focus on being yourself in your performance. If you have a good sense of your identity as a competitor, then focus on that and what you do best (your strengths). If you can do that successfully and consistently, your coaches will be impressed.
2. Talk to your coaches – The vast majority of coaches love interacting with their athletes, but because of the size of teams, it can be difficult to strengthen any one relationship. That’s where you come in. Regardless of your relationship with your coach, commit to taking that relationship to another level. Let him/her know how much you want to improve, how much you care about the team, how you want to contribute more to the team, how you would like to display more leadership and ownership of what happens over the course of the season. Your coach will love this! The more effort a coach sees you putting into the team, the more effort that coach will put into you. In the process, you’ll humanize your coach and won’t see him/her as unapproachable. Your coach will also be more likely to give you the benefit of the doubt when you have a poor performance because he/she knows how much you care.
3. Bring a positive character trait to practice/competition everyday – Is there something you’re really good at from a character perspective? Loyalty, respect, integrity, humor, kindness, generosity, best effort, focus, etc.? Figure out a trait that is very important to you as a person and competitor, and commit to bringing that trait to practice and competition everyday. Lead by example for your teammates and coaches. Whenever we bring our best selves to a situation, we have an excellent chance of flourishing. Now that will be impressive!
These 3 points are all things that you can control. Focus on what you can control and let that process do the impressing for you. Good luck and let me know how this works for you.
Brian Lomax founded PerformanceXtra™ in 2009 with a mission of helping athletes achieve their goals and their top performances more consistently through a progression of mental skills that enables them to focus on what is truly important.
Learn more about the author: https://performancextra.com/brian-lomax/