These note were taken by Lason Perkins who was in attendance at the Coaching U 2010 Basketball Clinic. Spencer Wood is known for his ability to train athletes physically as well as mentally. He is an author as well as a public speaker and is known worldwide. Coach Wood is one of the best when it comes to athlete's mental skills and toughness training. Here are his basketball coaching clinic notes from when he spoke.
Notes Taken by Lason Perkins
Mental toughness does not guarantee a championship.
Research on Top Athletes
- Ability to work hard and sustain intensity
- Sport Specific skills
- Clutch performance (poise, focus, confidence)
- Sacrifice to be part of larger team
- Coping with failure, success, criticism
- Ability to execute game strategy
- Passion for the game
How do you react to your mistakes?
Sport at highest level is 50% mental. If that is the case, why do we not work at mental skills half the time?
Incorporate mental skills into drills.
Be proactive in developing mental skills.
4 C’s of Mental Toughness
Brain Under Stress
- Fight or flight reaction
- Breathing changes
- Heart rate changes
- Digestive system shuts down
- Muscular tension increases
Skills learned typically in stress free setting.
- Practice More (Cannot fully mimic game conditions)
- Coach admonishment/Self admonishment (“Don’t screw up”, etc.)
Emotion/Intensity (E/I) needed
Each player has a different E/I level they perform at.
Once you are hyped, nothing should take you out of it.
- Recognize/get to your E/I number
- How to you stay there?
The best performers play at a 5 on E/I level consistently. You do not want them too low or too high.
Individual Internal Check for E/I Level
- Coming off the bus
- In Locker room
- During Warm Ups
- Before tip in huddle
Mistake Management: You will never out perform your own self-belief system.
Great athletes are great because of how they react to mistakes vs. actual mistakes that occurred.
Reaction: Above and below the surface.
We have to teach more than “Keep your head, chin, and eyes up”.
Athletes need a mental toughness routine
Take out the trash
- Remove the mistake from the mind
- Don’t let them pile up
- No natural method to remove mental thoughts that clutter up
- Create a visual in the mind of mistake/action being tossed out
- Replace with positive image
Two views in mind: Inside-Out and Outside-In
Mirror situation to simulate conditions (Inside-Out view, involve all senses)
Most athletes use Outside-In view when visualizing
- Best friend or worst enemy
- What would show up if your self talk was projected onto a big screen for all to see?
- Positive statements in your mental script
Law of Dominant Thought: Brain/body does not distinguish between do/don’t (Example: Don’t think of an pink elephant)
Talk about what you will do. Have 1-2 statements you use every day/game
- Examples: “I am at my best when it counts”. “I love shooting clutch FT’s”
Clutch Attitude: We cannot know what is going on inside a players mind.
Choking: An absence of 1 or more of the 4 C’s of mental toughness
Focus on the present, not the outcome
Create a team culture of steping up
- Concept of arête
- Remove fear of failure
Three questions to ask yourself:
- Where am I now?
- Where am I going?
- How do I get there?
Conduct individual assessments in pre-season. Have coaches do one for each player and compare results.
Coach ability: Level of response, attention, execution.
Knowledge is not the key. Knowledge plus application is key.
“Every day of my career, I improved in one area”- Mark Spitz