Spencer Wood is an international speaker that specializes in the area of mental training. He is the owner of Ice Box Athlete and has had a lot of success teaching players how to be mentally strong and help then develop their skills from the mental side. Here are the basketball coaching clinic notes from when he spoke at the 2010 Florida Coaches Basketball Clinic.
Mental Toughness in the Clutch
- “Most athletes/teams are either 25 % better under pressure or 25% worse
- Goal=Poise, focus, confidence under pressure
- “Mental toughness does not guarantee a championship, but a lack of mental toughness is guaranteed to lose us a championship”
Pressure can affect:
- Decision making – shot selection, turnovers
- Skill execution
13.6% difference between FT% in the regular season than with less than 2 minutes and a +/- 3 point spread
Response to stress and pressure
- Practice until automatic
- Coach admonishment to “relax” or “focus”
- Mask fear with intensity
Mental skills make up for more than 50% of success, so why not dedicate more time?
- Principles are still a mystery
- False sense of “you either have it or you don’t”
- If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it
- Comfort level with what you’re doing
Great coaches are willing to improve what they don’t know
To answer all questions:
- Where are you now?
- Where are you going?
- How are you going to get there?
Give your players a test of their own mental skills and toughness:
- Ability to handle adversity and mistakes
- Ability to compete vs. equal or better competition
- Ability to compete vs. weaker competition
- Big game preparation (maturity and dedication to game strategy)
- Ability to push through fatigue and positive pain in practice and games
- Poise: In practice and In games
- Focus: In practice and In games
- Dedication to skills outside of team practice
- Accepting responsibility for actions vs. blaming others
- Leadership (positive vs. negative influence on your team; integrity)
- Overall work ethic
- Basketball IQ – commitment to be a student of the game
- Intensity: In practice and In competition
- Confidence: In practice and In games
The 4 C’s in developing clutch consistency
Developing clutch consistency
- You will never outperform your self belief system
- Importance of staying in the moment
- Build confidence carefully
- We need to be aware of our stress levels on our players stress levels
- Stress translates to athletes
- Don’t assume your athletes want to win!
- Self esteem is protected by humans 2nd only to life preservation
- Must inform your athletes what “choking” really is. Educate them