Sunday, November 9, 2008

Calling all Coaches - Your Brightest and Best Athletes Need You

Are you frustrated with the results of your brightest and best athletes?

Do you wonder why they can show flashes of brilliance and then choke, in the most crucial of times? Or the most unlikely of times?

It's your job to find out. It's not your job to "fix" these mental lapses. But it's essential you know that mental skills training is available and powerful in its results. You owe it to your athletes to give them all they need to be successful. It's what you want.

Being an athletic coach is an amazing job. You're involved in the sport you have always loved and most likely played yourself. You get to work with other athletes who hold the same passion you do. You also are responsible for shaping and leading younger minds than yours. You are responsible for not just honing their skills as an athlete but also motivating them to play above and beyond their optimal ability in every situation imaginable. It's a tall order. If you take your job seriously, it's not easy. And it is amazingly rewarding.

There's always an expectation for the brightest and best athletes. After all, they've been performing above and beyond all the rest since grade school. They have had advantageous training that other athletes could only hope to get . . . the camps, special clinics, private lessons from top coaches. And then the expectations begin to really rise. Now there is just not the pressure of "having a good game" but to get that college scholarship. Not just any college scholarship, but the scholarship. And after the scholarship is the pressure to prove yourself worthy of it - to hold your own while playing in the big pond.

One can argue that the high expectations, the expectation of success, could, in fact, help create the success. We've known for a very long time that when you expect good , you get good. The self fulfilling prophecy. And we particularly know with our new research in how thoughts create reality, that when the athlete's own thoughts are aligned with success, success naturally follows.

For many athletes, however, the expectation is one they unconsciously resist. They "blow it" for a few holes in golf, or the 3rd quarter of the basketball game, or begin to lose their serve and have no idea what's going on for themselves. This is where more coaching can't help, but some astute attention to the mental gymnastics of the athlete can turn things around.

In today's world of competitive sports it is essential to be a coach who understands that his athletes need coaching with the mental side of the game as much as they need more practice on the physical skills of the sport. The saying, "You don't know what you don't know" really applies here. I often find this true in the area of coaches with their athletes. Many coaches think the answer to a game played poorly or to a match that never should have been lost, is to just practice harder and longer. It just is not so. In fact, it can do more harm.

The tennis star didn't start to lose his serve because he didn't know how to serve anymore. . . or that she was tired. But there could have been several sneaky thoughts running through this athlete's unconscious that were not only distracting, but downright took the wind out of this player's sails. The list of blocking thoughts are endless. We'll go over several specific examples of them in an upcoming blog - stay tuned! Your brightest and best need you to know!

I'm a good coach - but I could be a great coach!

I'll never forget it. I'm at a coach's clinic of 900 some high school and university athletic coaches. This large man with a teddy bear appearance walks up to me, looks me straight in the eyes and says, "I'm a good coach, and I know I could be a great coach." There was no doubt about it. This man possessed great leadership and a caring heart for his athletes. He also possessed a fair number of inner demons.

This university football coach was quite taken with the EFT method. He didn't think EFT strange at all ( people tell me "strong" men won't do EFT - I've never experienced this) and after his experience of immediate results, he was sold on it. He and I worked together on several things that had been silent and powerful blocks against him taking full control of his ability to lead. Some layers of being humiliated and embarrassed as a young man were cleared. (This seems to come up with my successful male clients frequently.) We were able to incorporate full forgiveness for some things he had done in his 20's that he felt shame for. The relief, the lightening of his spirit were palpable.

He called me nearly two years after our work was completed. "Bernadette, I'm a better coach, I'm a better husband and father; I don't get upset and angry like I used to. I've lost 25 pounds because I don't drink as much, and I've kept it going. When I get stressed, I shut the door to my office and start tapping!"

I don't need a testimonial here. The important thing is that if you are committed to improving an area of your life - in this case, a coaching career - you will find improvements occurring in many areas as you discover the universality of EFT. I encourage everybody to fully utilize the EFT method in any area of their life. It usually is amazing what hidden blocks will just pop out of the unconscious, and from that place they can be tapped on and neutralized.

You're good - and you could be Great!