Insightful talks don’t make mentally tough athletes, training does.
We can’t become physically fit without exercising, nor skillful without practice, so what make us think that becoming mentally strong would be any different?
When athletes, who have shown their ability to execute, aren’t able to carry out the game plan during games, what does that show? When you’ve seen athletes carry out the game plan in some games but not others, what is the culprit?
I know I already have a bias because of my chosen profession but stay with me for a while.
Most coaches would say that the players need more experience. They would also say things like ‘I need to get some better talent around here!’
My take? The athletes need to train their mind (and more specifically, increase their ability to ‘manage their attention’).
What coaches call experience is actually an athlete finding out how to manage their attention. You can wait for a young athlete to figure it out or you can get a mental coach to help them. When you think new talent is the way to go, that’s like throwing the dice also. Why? Because no athlete can dodge their own brains’ developmental process (meaning… kids will be kids unless trained in the art of attention management).
If you walked down an alley and got beat up, and the next day the same thing happened, then the next day the same thing happened, what would you do on the fourth day? Wouldn’t you find another alley to walk down?
Insanity is doing the same things over and over expecting a different result.
If your athletes aren’t executing game plans when you know that they can, then their lack of control over their attention is stopping them from doing so. You can either wait for it to change, recruit some new talent or get a mental coach…your choice.
But for it to work the coaches have to buy into the process fully or the athletes won’t. And as far as I know most mental coaches would subscribe to this thought about the relationship between mental coach and sports team that I’ve heard from another coach: