Monday, September 20, 2010

Keep your eye on the ball

What:  Jimmy is a freshman baseball player he has high hopes of making the varsity team, but to achieve this he must improve his batting average.  Jimmy is a good athlete but he doesn’t concentrate well, and to be a good hitter jimmy needs to focus on the pitch.  Part of Jimmy’s problem is that he hasn’t played baseball as long as some of the other boys but hopefully with some extra work he will improve.  As Jimmy’s coach I will help him to concentrate, and to become a better baseball player. 
So what:  Jimmy’s problem is that he is inexperienced and so he is having trouble picking up the pitches, and so he is not hitting at an acceptable average.  This could be due to a few problems not the least of which being that he is not ready for the varsity level due to his lack of experience.  As reported by Starks and Ericsson (2003) and others say  that experience is gained over a ten year period or 10,000 hours of deliberate practice.  Jimmy’s concentration problems at the plate may be the result of a lack of training in how to properly focus on the ball.  Jimmy will need to set goals for him to have a chance to achieve what he wants.
Now what:  My goal is to give Jimmy his best shot to make the team, so I will implement various principals to maximize his time before the season.  First is Psychoneuromuscular theory or muscle memory is something he can do at any time, it is just imagining the act of hitting the ball in his free time, and swinging.  Simply imagining the task well can build confidence that he can do it in real life, and it may build muscle memory.  Second I will work with him on the Quit eye method this is done with equipment that tracks the eye’s gaze.  By wearing this during training he can learn if he’s distracted or if he’s tracking the ball, and with practice track the ball for a longer time period.  If Jimmy can train himself to focus on the ball for a longer time his chances of hitting it will greatly improve.  
Jimmy needs clear goals, he needs a long term goal and several short term goals that as he progresses he will climb.  Goals should be like a ladder complete one to get to another, when all of the small ones are put together Jimmy should be at the top which is his final goal.  He needs to write his goals down so that he can always refer to them.   Most of all these goals need to need to be his, as a coach I can help make certain they are good goals, but he needs the goals to be his.   These goals will drive him to put in the extra work to gain the experience he will need.  Weinberg (2002) wrote social support plays a role in goal attainment coaches and instructors that show a genuine concern for participants provide goal support.
Conclusion:  Jimmy needs to improve his focus to become a better baseball player.  By working on several focus training methods he will gain valuable experience, and improve his skill set.  By setting goals Jimmy will be able to incrementally progress to being a better baseball player.  With all of the training methods set up if Jimmy works hard he should be able to improve, However he will still be at a disadvantage due to his lack of experience.
Gill, D. L., & Williams, L. (2008) Psychological Dynamics of Sport and Exercise. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
Weinberg, R. (2002) Goal setting in sport and exercise: Research to practice.  In J.L. Van Raalte &B.W. Brewer (Eds.) Exploring sport and exercise psychology      (2nd ed., pp25-48). Washington D.C.                         

Monday, September 13, 2010

strenth to get back in the saddle

what: Jimmy is a 16 year old football player he has not been able to get on the varsity team because of his competition anxiety.  He has the talent to be a valuable member of the team but he hasn't been able to get over his fear of failure, because he feels he costs his team a shot at the playoffs last year.  His parents are concerned because he has been depressed, and he is worried he will repeat his failures.  Jimmy needs to find a way to get over his past and get on to the future during this years training camp.

so what:  Jimmy's fear of playing seams to rise from his proceeved failure of his teammates, and his unwillingness to fail again.  According to the Pofile of Mood Sates (POMS; McNair, Lorr , Droppleman, 1971) typically successfull athleates score above the waterline(population norm) on viger but below on negitive moods of tension, depression, anger, fatuge, and confusion.  Even though Jimmy is a good player and wants to help his team, but until he can find a way to confront this problem he will not be able to help himself or his team.  He needs to find a way to forgive himself for his preceived failure or he will not be able to move on and be successfull.  He will need the suport of his teammates if he feels he let them down as much as himself this will be difficult for him to interact with them cutting off a good part of his support group. 

now what:  As the coach of the team it is my duty to help Jimmy, he's a good kid and he is to good of a player not to realize his talent, and worth.  First i must let Jimmy know that  last years failure was not his falt, football is a team sport and that if we were met to win the game we would have.  As his coach i must use as much praise and possitive renforcement as possible to try to build his confidence.  I need to put him in the best possion as possible to succeed, and give him extra reps at the drills he does well in to both help him and to show the rest of the team that he is still a valuable member of the team.I need to get Jimmy as many reps in scrimages and live action as possible to help him to control smaller amounts of anxiety to aid him when the games start and he will be anxious. I will also have him visulize at home him winning the next game for the team to help him gain confidence that if the game is in his hands he will be alright.

My overall goal as a coach is to get Jimmy's personallity back to nomal and to once again get him to enjoy playing football .  McAdams and Pals (2006) broke the human personality doen to five principals personality is conseived as (a) an individuals unque variation on the general evilutionary design for human nature expressed as a developing padern of (b) dispositional traits, (c) charactoristic adaptation, and (d) self-defining life naratives, complexly and differintlly situated (e) culture and social contexts. The hope is that by instilling more self confidence in Jimmy he will start to understand that failure is just a part of growth and become stronger from the expeirience.  It would be easy if Jimmy could just forget that it ever happened but for him to ever find presonal growth he needs to face this as one of many challenges that will face him in the life.

Conclusion:  Jimmy was troubled by his past failures but with the help of his teammates and his coachs suport he was able to understand that it wasn't all his fault that the team lost, he mite have had a bad play but everyone makes mistakes. By instilling cofidence in his current ablities he will be able to get over his fear of failure.  By having the team rally around Jimmy he relizes the team will not abandon him.  With the extra attention the other coachs have showed Jimmy that we have fath in him and his abilities.  Now its just up to him to go conquer his fear, but we will all be their with him.


Gill, D.L., & Williams, L. (2008). Psychological dynamics of sport and exercise (pp. 44). United States of America: Human Kinetics.