So take it from someone who wants nothing but success for your child – let them play other sports. Let them develop to their full athletic potential and let them experience trying a sport in which they are not a superstar. The lesson they learn from having that experience will benefit them long after they hang up the cleats and tackle being an adult.Read More
We should always have high expectations for our athletes, but we should also create an environment that allows for those expectations to be met.Read More
Repeat everyday as a warm-up. It looks like this: ◆ 10 shots against the wall, slow and under control. ◆ 10 shots against the backboard, slow and under control. ◆ 5 shots made by hitting the top corner of the square on each side.Read More
During warm ups, instead of running a lap or doing sprints, we see how fast we can run from the huddle to the line of scrimmage, run a play for 15 yards, then sprint back to the huddle. They are timed and they want to get faster. We have 8 plays so we do it 8 times. We celebrate shaving seconds off our time. Lining up fast during a game is intimidating to the other team, and parents love it.Read More
If you can keep your head when all about you Are losing theirs and blaming it on you, If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, But make allowance for their doubting too; If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies, Or being hated, don’t give way to hating, And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:Read More
I chose the cupcakes. I chose my team.Read More
The subject of "creating culture" has been buzzing as of late so I thought I would share a couple notes on ways I have found to create a fun and successful culture.Read More
Toward the end of every season, I schedule a "kids vs parents" game. A great time to do this is when the team is not doing so well and needs to have some fun, or at the end of the year party. There are many different ways to do this. Here are some tips to make it go smoothly:Read More
Those simple, quiet moments you have with an athlete are the moments they will remember for the rest of their lives.Read More
As a youth coach I believe it is my job to model confident behavior for my athletes and coaches. It starts with intelligent preparation and ends not in winning (though that often is a by-product of great preparation) but in performing at the highest ability in which I am capable.Read More
Every coach wants their athletes to be mentally tough. However, when I ask a coach to define what being mentally tough is, I find most coaches do not have a definition, or their definition has something to do with playing through pain. Although an athlete who can stay focused on their role when uncomfortable because of injury is considered a mentally tough action, is does not define what it means.
My definition of a mentally tough athlete is one who is:
Able to access their talent at the highest level they are capable on a consistent basis regardless of the situation.
Here is how I break that down:
“Able to access their talent...” You can have all the talent and strength you need to be competitive, but you must be able to unleash all the hours of training you put in to make it to game day. An example of being able to access your talent, despite a tragic situation in one’s personal life is Brett Favre, who played a football game the day after his father passed away. That day he passed for 399 yards and four touchdowns…he was able to access his talent. He was mentally tough.
“...at the highest level...” Whitey Bimstein, a long time boxer and trainer once said, “Show me an undefeated fighter and I'll show a guy who's never fought anybody.” His point was to show that an athlete should seek out the best competition even if that means losing once in a while. As a society, we place too much emphasis on having no losses on our record. Defeat can be the seed of discontent you need to motivate you to improve your game.
“...they are capable…” Your level effort has nothing to do with the competition. There is an old adage: “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.” You can only control three things as an athlete - your effort, your attitude and your preparation. Get in the habit of always playing at the height of your ability and you will see that ability continue to grow.
“...on a consistent basis…” Anyone can be great in a random chance moment. History is rife with championships being won on the last ditch effort of some one-hit wonder that only has that one situation to their name, then fades shortly after. Today’s headlines are tomorrow’s fish wrappings, so to be great you need to be consistent.
“...regardless of the situation.” A mentally tough athlete treats practice and pre-season competitions with the same intensity as a league or post-season game. In most sports, the next play or the next move is the same no matter if it’s at practice or in the last few minutes of the championship game. The only difference is the audience.
Mental toughness is developed through hard work and dedication. Help your athletes to take ownership of their athletic endeavors by letting them learn from their failures. If you put a pillow under their knee every time they fall, they will never learn the important lesson of learning from mistakes.
Hello Coach Leath, My dad says I can't quit my team, but I don't want to play football anymore. All I do is sit on the bench during the games. What should I do?Read More
Learn the thing, then do the thing. It is not enough to know a thing; you must do the thing you know. Years ago I ran across a book called "How to Read a Book" (1940) by Mortimer J. Adler. If you are like me, you were never really taught how to drink deeply from a good book. I highly recommend it as a place to start on how to read a book. Not all books require the same amount of energy to read, and Adler's book gives you a frame of reference to use when selecting a book to read.Read More
“You got it. Winning and losing is not in your control,” I explain. “Instead of concerning yourself with the score, be a competitor. Who is coming in first during the sprints? Beat them. Who stays after practice to catch a few more throws? Catch more. A competitor does not worry about the scoreboard or stats or social media fans. A competitor shows up to be the best they can be and their hunger for improvement is never satiated.Read More
As for you, my fine friend, you are a victim of disorganized thinking. You are under the unfortunate delusion that simply because you run away from danger, you have no courage.Read More
What are some other communication tips I should include next time I write about communicating to athletes?Read More
There isn't more to life than this--A baby's smile, a loved one's kiss A book, a song, a flower, a friend And just a little time--to spend.Read More
Cheer for the athletes, not the team. It is okay to appreciate talent from the other team. When a coach told his athletes’ parents to root for the other team at a football game in Texas a few years ago, it literally changed the lives of the players on that team.Read More
When you’re up against a trouble,
Meet it squarely, face to face;
Lift your chin and set your shoulders,
Plant your feet and take a brace.
When it’s vain to try to dodge it,
Do the best that you can do;
You may fail, but you may conquer,
See it through!
Young athletes are kids; they are not mini-adults. They have a hard time paying attention to one thing for a long time because deep down they know, they are out there to play, and this is just a game.
Keep it simple. Let the kids play.Read More