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Coaching Excellence

Coaches, would you like your athletes to be more self-motivated? Do you want to see more leadership come from within your team? Would you like to resolve conflicts with players, and parents in a way that improves performance rather than hurts it?

Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital's Dr. Eddie.As a coach, you are challenged to develop the skills and minds of your athletes. You play the role of mentor, leader, and psychologist. Dr. O’Connor can teach you the specific skills needed to maximize your athletes’ development while improving your coaching effectiveness.

Suggestions to get you started:

1. Define success as:

  • giving full effort
  • personal improvement of skills
  • execution of strategies

2. Keep winning in perspective. You can’t control the outcome so focus on the process.

3. Identify your athlete’s motivations for playing, and structure practice to fulfill those reasons:

  • Fun was ranked as the #1 reason, followed by improving skills

4. Set SMART goals to motivate athletes:

  • Specific (avoid “do your best” goals)
  • Measurable (able to track behavioral progress)
  • Achievable (challenging, but realistic)
  • Relevant (important to the athlete or team)
  • Time-limited (set deadlines for achievement)

5. Emphasize internal rewards (fun, love of the game, personal improvement) over external rewards (fame, scholarships).

6. Create a practice environment where each athlete becomes more motivated and confident

  • Catch athletes doing things right, and praise them for it frequently
  • Reward effort as much as outcome

7. Create a task-focused team climate where athletes practice to get better (vs. defeat others), compete against themselves (vs. each other), and help others to reach their potential

8. Respond to mistakes by:

  • Complimenting the athlete on something well done (effort, etc.)
  • Give future-oriented instruction (technical skill)
  • End with encouragement

Contact Dr. Eddie at the Performance Excellence Center




1155 East Paris Avenue
Suite 200
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 | Map

► Dr. Eddie's Mental Toughness newsletters
► Download coaching excellence tips

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