Perspective, It Can Change Everything

Everyone goes through life looking at things in their own way. This is what we call perspective. A person may look at a situation and see it as an opportunity while another person looks at that same exact situation as a burden or obstacle.

Let's Talk About Your Perspective - Tyler Kleeberger - Medium

“When you focus on the things you need . . . you’ll find those needs increasing. If you concentrate your thoughts on what you don’t have, you will soon be concentrating on other things that you had forgotten you don’t have – and feel worse! If you set your mind on loss, you are more likely to lose… But a grateful perspective brings happiness and abundance into a person’s life”

This is a passage from a book that I have recently read, “The Noticer- Sometimes, all a person needs is a little perspective”. While the book is a great story and easy read I found myself taking a deeper look into how I do things as a coach. We, as coaches, have a completely different perspective on the game than our players, and most of the time our other coaches. So how can we take the time to use this to our advantage? How can more than one perspective on something benefit an individual or even an entire team? Today, I would like to go over the idea of perspective in a way you may have not used before!

FEEDBACK

The biggest thing that comes to mind when thinking about perspective in any gym that I coach in is feedback! Feedback is something that became very present in my playing career during college and is something that is stressed very highly with any team that I am a part of. There are a few types of feedback in sports, coach to player, player to player, coach to coach, and the one that I would like to dive into a little deeper player to coach.

Player to coach feedback, for the most part, is only present when a coach has a strong relationship with that player. This player may be around the program for a number of years and they are likely to be a captain. This relationship is great however a lot of the time the player and coach have similar perspectives on things. This makes the feedback to the coach something they usually see them self, so it acts more as a reassurance rather than a new outlook on things. I would challenge you the next time you are with your team to try and get some feedback from some players you do not have a strong relationship with. Here is what I mean…

As a coach I do a lot of private lesson work, or small group work when I am with my team. During the drill we will usually be working on a specific skill and I will be giving the most common feedback, coach to player. That is my job right? I could sit there and say what I see and correct or compliment that player for as long as time permits. But that is not good enough to me, I want to know their perspective on things to not only help them but to help ME! I ask them questions like- What do you feel? What are you thinking about? What are you seeing?

Many players at the start do not know what to say, but as I encourage the player to coach feedback more and more they begin to get comfortable. I begin to look at what that player is doing in their own perspective, as well as mine. This new comfort eventually carries over into competition. The trust and respect that I have as a coach towards my players allows me to ask what they see (most coaches know things look a lot different from the sidelines). We again take that multiple perspective outlook on things and use it to our advantage.

Of course getting to the point where you can use your players perspective in competition takes a lot of time, work, and trust. So, stick with the small things. During training or practice, ask them what they are feeling. After a mistake, ask what they saw or what they think they should have done. After a great play, ask them what felt good! Then take it a step further, ask your team what they liked about a drill, what they disliked? It may be tough to hear some criticism from your players but if you are truly invested in your team you will encourage their feedback!

Everyone has a different perspective on things, we are all unique in our own way! It is my firm belief that there is never a wrong perspective in the world, the only thing that can be wrong is denial that there is other perspectives out there! Embrace your players perspective, seek other coaches perspective, and continue to evolve YOUR PERSPECTIVE!

-Coach Windy


Be Where Your Feet Are

Be Where Your Feet Are! – Not Just Leadership

While most posts that I write are pretty planned out, today I am doing some improvisation. The other night while finishing my book “Chop Wood Carry Water” there was a chapter called “Be Where Your Feet Are”. It did not hit me at the moment but this morning it was in my mind and I thought that this is a perfect topic to share my thoughts!

In this post I will be sharing some points from two great sports psychologists that I have taken a liking to, Graham Betchart and Ken Ravizza. I highly recommend reading their work and watching any videos you can find on these two.

Graham Betchart- Play Present

Graham Betchart is known for working with great NBA players such as Aaron Gordon, Ben Simmons, Karl Anthony-Towns, and Andrew Wiggins. Play Present is a book that is a mental skills training program for basketball players. While I have yet to read it, it is on my list (along with another 100 or more books!). One common thing that I have seen when reviewing this book is that many players never come to their full potential as they never play present. Instead these players are more concerned with the past or the future and they end up feeling excessive pressure.

As coaches we are always getting on our players to be more oriented with “the process” instead of the “results”. That is a great way of getting our players to be more in the present. I want to take that a different direction and raise the question to all of us “are we, as coaches, playing in the present?”. I know from my own experience that I am either looking too far ahead or dwelling on the past. The result of this is the players following your example. We end up limiting our teams potential because we are not where are feet are.

So how can we make sure to always coach in the present? Well, I here is what I do. Let’s set the example of being in a season and a situation happens, such as a player injury, a bad loss, or even a big win! Our mind set may be filled with a lot of “what ifs”. There is a process that I have created that I use to get my teams back to being where there feet are.

The ACT” or Acknowledge, Challenge, Train

  • Acknowledge- During practice or a team meeting, I air out what is on everyone’s mind. I say it how it is, not trying to sugar coat anything or under value something good. By acknowledging either the good or the bad we can all see it together for what the situation really is.
  • Challenge- Once we have acknowledged the situation among us (either past or future) I then challenge my team to overcome the obstacle or to rise above the expectation. We will not succumb to the pressure of what happened in the past or what may happen in the future. We will focus on the now, we will play present!
  • Train- Now that we have set the challenge for the group it is our job as the coach to train them to overcome or rise above the situations. By us as coaches seeing the bigger picture we have the ability to train the team to play in the present. We can manipulate practices or training sessions to be focused on only what is happening at the current moment.

When I follow this “ACT” I not only help my team to play present but I help my self as a coach. My focus is more on keeping my team on track rather than being distracted those “what ifs”. This process is a great guideline for multiple situations and what is great about it is the ability to repeat it daily, weekly, or how ever often you need to!

Ken Ravizza- Be Present, Not Perfect

Ken Ravizza is a legendary sports psychologist who was well known in the MLB community! He has many great teachings that all coaches can use and I highly recommend following his teachings! Ken has many great “Ravizza’isms” or sayings that he is known for using. The one that goes perfect with this article is “Be Present, Not Perfect”.

“Be Present, Not Perfect” is something that we can all do in coaching, or better yet life! When ever we start a season with a new team there are great aspirations to be the best or to be number 1! There is always the thought in our mind that this will be a perfect season! Well as most of us know, the perfect season is rare, seasons or teams usually rarely go as planned!

Instead of us trying to make sure everything in the season, in the practice, or in a game/match goes perfectly, we must focus on the present! Let’s look at a practice, we may come up with what we think is the best drill ever and as we begin the team just does not perform it to expectation. Most coaches will probably get upset and keep trying the drill until the team gets it, but what if you can accept that the drill isn’t making any progress, swallow your pride, and move on! We can look at it from the other direction as well. You may be doing a drill that you have always done but for some reason your team seems to be playing the best ever! As a coach you must realize this, be in the present and keep the ball rolling! Even if we have something else in mind that we want to get to it can wait!

No matter what the situation you, your team, or an individual is going through we can always make our way through it. The important thing though is to never over look that situation and ignore the present! The best thing that you can always do in life is “Be Where Your Feet Are”

-Coach Windy


Visualization: Making it Real

Famous Athletes Who Meditate to Improve Their Game and Get That ...

Have ever been dreaming and in your dream you either fall or get hit? When this happened in your dream did you suddenly wake up in a jolt or felt like you just fell on your bed? Well this is your a result of your brain convincing your body that what you are dreaming about is actually happening.

This is how I was taught to look at the process of Visualization. Our goal is convincing our body that we are physically doing something with just the power of our mind!

In this TED Talk Kenn Dickinson talks about 2 secrets of elite athletes, one of them being Visualization. If you listen to the talk you will here of a story that demonstrates the power of visualization. The biggest thing that I took from this video was the attention to the little details. Now when I do visualization for my self each week I am constantly looking for the little details in each of my scenarios.

For example: Let’s say I am visualizing my self coaching in a big match with my team. Instead of just visualizing the outcome of the game I go into even more detail. Here are a couple things that I visualize.

  • First I go through warm-ups with my team, from stretching to the national anthems, and into the team room for a pre-game speech. I feel the high fives that I give to each player as they get announced, I see the details on my clip board of my scouting report and take my seat to prep for the first point.
  • During the match I see more than just what happens during the game, I hear the refs blowing the whistle, I make coaching changes like I normally would, I hear and see the crowd getting involved.
  • We end the match and I go through the post match routine, always shaking my coaches hands first, then shaking the other teams hands, maybe talk to a few friends or family, and lastly meeting with my team before they leave the venue.

So why do this? Well by getting these mental reps I am prepping my mind to handle the situation when it presents itself. I am Making it Real.

Whether you are visualizing a sporting event, a practice, or even something more personal in life the details matter! By getting very detailed with this you make it more realistic. The more realistic that you make your visualization the less it will feel like a dream or fantasy. When the real life situation finally comes about you will feel like you have been there before and feel more comfortable in the situation.

Visualizing With Your Team

In sports visualization is a great tool to use with your team of any age! There are some challenges that come with it so hopefully these tips can help you!

  1. Make it a part of your routine: By doing this the team will be expecting you to do visualization. I implemented Monday Morning Visualization with my team last year and they responded well to it. The next season I did not continue it and I had a couple of the returners reach out to me to do it again. This told me that they enjoyed it being a part of our weekly routine and it was important to our team’s growth. Be consistent when you do it! Monday mornings was what worked best for us, it allowed us to set our minds for a great week of practices and matches! When ever you choose to do it, make sure that you stay consistent!
  2. Embrace the resistance: Lucky for me I work with college athletes that are very invested in what they do. However, when I introduce them to visualization I always say to respect the process. Even if they do not think that it will help them I tell them to still close their eyes and be a part of the team. I even tell the group that they can take a nap while I walk them through what we are doing. Maybe the ideas and scenarios that I am guiding them through sneaks into their minds anyway and they begin to visualize with out them knowing. Sure, it may take more than one time for them to try it out but at least they still are being a part of the group!
  3. Have your content ready: I have tried to do visualization both ways, first by just going off what I have in my head at the moment and second by writing out points that I want to make sure I talk about. I will usually have a theme or saying for the week and talk to the team about what this may mean to them as individuals and as a group. Once I complete the points about the idea or theme I then get into the on the court thoughts. I talk them through situations, giving them little details to help them make it real. Then I always wrap up the session by telling them to complete what ever it is on their mind and when they are ready to open their eyes and be ready to start working
  4. Add your own personal touch: This year I did something different than the year before. Since I am doing this with my volleyball team I did 2 things: I had the players find a spot ON the court and I also made them hold a volleyball. By doing this I took it a step further than just visualizing the details, I implemented some physical components. The players were right where they would actually be in their visions and they were holding the ball so they could put some feeling to those visions as well.

These tips will help you implement visualization to both your own routine and bring it to the teams that you coach. If used properly it can be very effective in the journey of your team. Make sure to learn from each session, adapt to what you see in yourself and your team, and stick with it even if there is not instant gratification! By doing all of this any time that you visualize you will be making it REAL!

-Coach Windy