-New Coaching Article by Samson Dubina
The way you manage pressure has a huge impact on your performance. About 90% of coaches don’t rightly understand this important concept. This article isn’t designed to offend average coaches, but rather to educate both coaches and players as to what it means to be mentally strong.
The average coach worldwide talks daily to his students about being nervous. He doesn’t give a solution, he just tells them they look nervous or commands them to stop being nervous. Over time, his students begin to believe that they always get nervous. The coach blames all of their errors on nervousness and tells them that if they were not nervous, they would be more powerful, more consistent, and win more. Still, he hasn’t given a solution, he just keeps saying to practice more and stop being nervous.
World Class Coach
The world-class coach rarely ever uses this word. Why? Because world class coaches know that putting good thoughts into the mind of the athlete is important – they encourage the athlete to TRUST, to BELIEVE, to ENJOY, to PERFORM. When the athlete hears these words, he learns to subconsciously trust his base technique. Also, it calms his mind to think tactically. When he misses a shot, his mind is immediately focused on the solution. When his primary game isn’t working, his mind is immediately focused on a tactical change. Read this paragraph again before continuing!
Before the match…
- Average coach, “You look nervous”. He gives no solution.
- World Class Coach, “Trust your shots.”
During the match your player is losing…
- Average coach, “If you weren’t so nervous, you won’t be making so many errors. Stop being nervous”. He gives not solution.
- World Class Coach, “I know you can be more consistent. What would you suggest?” Player responds ______. “Yes, now go out there and trust your plan.”
During a match your player is winning…
- Average coach, “Well you won the first game, why are you still looking so nervous?”
- World Class Coach, “Stay confident in looping the half-long, stay active in the rallies, keep a positive mindset, etc.”
After Winning a Match
- Average coach, “You only won because the other guys was nervous. You are so lucky.”
- World Class Coach, “You started off the match very confident. As the match progressed and you realized that your opponent wasn’t stable, you progressively made better and better decisions with consistent openings, well-placed 5th balls, and were able to move him back and worked the point really well.”
After Losing a Match
- Average coach, “I told to stop being nervous. See, you won’t listen to me. You are always playing nervous. Go practice more and stop looking so nervous.”
- World Class Coach, “Take a short rest then write out some thoughts for me. If you play that same guy again, what would you do differently next time?”
History shows that the coaches who incessantly talk to their students about being nervous end of developing students who are nervous! This is a fact!
So what about you? You are reading this and claim to always be nervous. What should you do? Focus on the task at hand. Focus on making good decisions. Focus on playing as you have practiced and there are no regrets for you. If you give 100% effort on playing as you have practiced and having good shot selection, then you can hold your head up high, look your opponent in the eye, look your coach in the eye, and say “good game.” You can be proud of your match. If your thoughts get in the way and you play differently than practice, your choice of what to serve, how to receive, when to push, when to counterloop, and everything is wrong. This isn’t being nervous. This is from bad thoughts and poor shot selection.
Regardless of how you are feeling, focus on doing the right thing, enjoying the moment, making good decisions, and letting it happen. TRUST IS A MUST!