Tips for coaches
■ Recovering from mistakes: Establish a ritual allowing athletes to mentally “reset” for the next play after making a mistake. One example is The Flush, a toilet-flushing motion that tells a player to flush away the error and move on.
■ Setting “stretch goals”: Encourage players to improve in one specific area over a
period of time. In baseball, it might be consistently hitting the outside pitch to the
opposite field; in soccer, increasing the distance of a goal kick by 10 yards.
■ Creating symbolic rewards: Reward hustle with a symbolic prize. For instance, a Dirty Shirt Award given to the player who showed the most grit but was not necessarily the star.
■ Developing a 2-minute drill: Pick a time in a game or practice when the team’s energy normally flags and amp up your positivity level. Keep the communication totally upbeat for a few minutes and save the criticism for later.
■ Practicing a self-control routine: When aggravated, pause and take a deep breath. Turn away from the field to refocus. Count backward from 100.
■ Coaching parents to “honor the game”: Where appropriate, appoint one or more parents as “Culture Keeper” responsible for maintaining sideline decorum. JOSEPH P. KAHN
Source: “The Power of Double-Goal Coaching,” by PCA founder Jim Thompson