There is no doubt that great coaches are great communicators. One can elaborate and make the statement, "Good follower ship is good leadership."
The fact of the matter is that most coaches concentrate their resources upon teaching the game, rather than teaching the individual how to believe in the game. Great coaches may or may not have a resume and extensive experience, but they all do one thing right....and that is they communicate through practice.
First off, an athlete needs to believe in himself and exhibit confidence in his own abilities. The problem is that most people do not understand that confidence does not come from within. It stems from hard work and preparation. One can never believe in anything unless they understand it, experience it, and have success and failure at it. Until then, confidence will only be a far off ideal that the athlete wants, but never attains.
Ever hear a champion state the following? "Failure was not an option."
To most anyone, this is interpreted as the athlete had a mindset to win at all costs and was going to do whatever it took to succeed. Actually, this is far from the truth. In reality, "failure" was never an option because it never factored into the equation and does not exist. It truly was not an option in choices "a", b", "c", or "none of the above."
To better understand the mindset of a champion, one must look at what makes up the champion. "Fear" does not exist in reality. It is a conjured up ideal of the mind that exists only in the imagination, being created through negative thinking. Such thinking stems from the (1) unknown, (2) an unwillingness to fail, and (3) not willing to face the consequences.
For a champion, fear does not exist because if you define "confidence" as the ability to believe in oneself through experience (and not wisdom), you will understand that execution is a byproduct of development. "Wisdom" is learning through communication and "experience" is learning through failure. Basically, failure is the root to all evil, creates fear, and causes potential to be stopped short. However, it is the root to all successes. To fail is to succeed......really?
Any great coach concentrates upon one thing - practice and more practice. These relentless and endless workouts (in all types of weather) are the tools that build the athlete within. The military utilizes drilling as a form of practice, battle hardening their warriors for battle. Baseball is no different and great coaches realize the value in such. Anyone whom has ever gone through a college or pro baseball practice failed just by showing up. They are flat our BRUTAL!!
The actual practice is not the tool towards creating a champion. It is just a platform. It breaks the athlete down, creates dedication and thirst for work, and develops baseball skills. However, the athlete has no understanding that the true reason great coaches drill, drill, and drill........is because they are working towards creating a PREPARED athlete.
Take, for example, school tests. One test is studied for, labored over, and the result is an indifference at the result because one prepared to the best of one's abilities. No matter the outcome, "no stones were left unturned". Emancipation is the result...not the grade.
Another test is studied for in three hours before exam time, classes may have been missed, and the dog ate the text book. In this scenario, no matter what, the student is going to focus more upon failing the test than on actually taking the test, and there is no difference in getting a shot.
For the normal human being that is not a masochist (one whom enjoys pain), getting pricked by a needle haunts our dreams. We anticipate the pain, wince at the thought of our blood pouring out of our skin, and feel we will bleed out before they can amputate and hobble us for life. In actuality, the shot was not nearly as bad as the weeks of angst before.
Practice to PREPARE is what makes the heart of a champion. He turns winning into a byproduct of development. Furthermore, he turns execution (statistics) into a byproduct of his preparation. To be prepared is to be emancipated from the result because one is competing against one's best self.
Champions do not COMPETE in the game. They PLAY the game. There is a big difference in the fact that competition is where the unknown and failure creates fear- pushing the athlete to do better. Play is where the athlete enjoys himself. Let's break it down on what MLB players do to prepare for a game:
1. 12:00 arrival at the ballpark for a 7:05PM start.
2. Get to the clubhouse and watch video, go over scouting reports, and get a rub down by the trainer. During the rubdown, the athlete most likely will relax and fall into a mental imaging session of pure relaxation - watching himself have success in every detail of the ballgame. This builds the game plan for the main event.
3. 2:00PM sees the major leaguers working out and getting his mind strong through lifting, looking at his bulging muscles, and creating a mindset of anger and aggression. Weights play a big part in such.
4. 3:00PM - athlete grabs a bite to eat, easing the mind and getting away from the last 3 hours of mental preparation.
5. 4:10PM - BP and stretch. The big leaguer goes through the process as if it were the game. Watch a big leaguer take BP, compared to a minor leaguer and you will see the difference. The minor leaguer is pulling every pitch, driving the ball into orbit, and feeling great about only home runs. The big leaguer is hitting the ball the other way, taking pitches, working on situational hitting, and the last round.....well, that is for the fans.
6. 6:00PM sees media and more food.
7. 6:30PM has the athlete putting on his uniform. Most big leaguers go through a ritual in doing so. They slowly put on their uniform as if to strap on armor and get ready for war.
8. 7:00PM is game time and the big leaguer is ready.
We have not mentioned the 10-20 years of practice and more here. Now, do you think "failure" is an option? Do you think that fear comes into play? Does this athlete really care if he succeeds or fails?
Obviously not, as the mindset is so PREPARED for battle, that the "battle" could not come sooner and only becomes a relief from the mental work.
There is a reason why the game is 90% mental and 10% physical. There is a coralation between mental work and physical work. Mental work is very tough. The mindset can only handle so much and tires quickly, while the physical work is entertaining, keeps the mind focused, and gives instant gratification when the ball is crushed or thrown hard. Mental training is about the individual competing against himself and preparing for battle - two things that are hard to focus upon alone and are flat our boring (at times).
If you do not think so, then why are commercials spread out over 7 minute periods on TV? Why is it hard to focus upon one object for more than 60 seconds? And why do young athletes practice for an hour swinging their bats or throwing the baseball and spend two minutes lifting weights or thinking about their game?
The reason is that mental preparation sucks. It is not fun, is boring, and flat out sucks....enough said. But to train the 90% of the game is to be prepared. Open up a video game and start playing it and you will not get past Level 1. Read the manual, watch others play, Google all the cheat codes and advantages before you play.....well, Level 1 was just the warm up. The secret here is that the "anticipation" to play the game becomes so addicting that when one actually turns on the Xbox....the game is just that....a game. The preparation before is what is sought after because one knows that to get past Level "whatever", they have to put in the behind the scenes work.
Great coaches utilize practice to develop the mind. They create relentless workouts to ensure that their athletes' minds stay focused for longer periods of time. They require their athletes to lift constantly - the single best way to churn and burn the mind into submission. And lastly, great coaches want their athletes to bleed because it creates a pissed off individual whom competes with aggression.
Think about it. Why are diamonds so valuable? If you know the diamond industry, there are more diamonds locked up in vaults and being held off the market than are being sold. This creates a thirst for the diamond, raising prices, etc. The heart of a champion is no different. He works for it, thirsts after it, competes for it....and when he actually gets to it- he is so "over" it that he
Being prepared is about altering the mindset to seek execution in practice, to compete only against one's best self, and to wake up the next day wanting to beat yourself. The game becomes a sanctuary from the relentless struggles of work and is a platform to showcase....not exist.
Too many athletes feel that the game is where they grow. You hear about it all the time, "He is just a gamer." Wrong.....he just doesnt like working and this athlete's career will end before the potential is realized.
It is true that "failure was not an option", but it was not an option because it does not exist in the mind of a champion. He is just at the game to get to his next practice where he will further his mental and physical skills and compete against himself. To fear is to be unprepared and to worry about failing is being unrealistic, as fear only exists in the mind of the one whom is unprepared for battle.
Work hard, train harder, and compete against yourself and the game becomes just that.....a game.