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Youth Coaches Should Focus on Psychology

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The daily grind of competition and physical exertion can weigh heavily on any athlete. Sports demand plenty of energy and toughness out of a player. Early wakeups, late practices and repetition can amount to an arduous schedule, even for the best athletes around. However, despite all of the physical challenges of sports, coaches also cannot forget about the mental trials of athletics.

That said, when a player can combine mental strength with physical abilities, they can rise to the top of their respective sports. Take Tim Duncan, forward of the San Antonio Spurs, for example. Duncan has long been one of the most talented players in the NBA. His massive frame supports his ability to rebound, defend, block shots and score. His bank shot is one of the most unstoppable plays in the league. However, what has elevated Duncan above his competition (en route to five championships), is not just his physical strengths, but also his mental aptitude.

Coaches of young athletes would be wise to use sports team websites to outline the mental aspects of competition. Professional sports teams are already deeply involved in this part of the game. Youngsters could benefit from getting an early start.

Cubs focus on psychology of players

Theo Epstein, president of the Chicago Cubs, has built a team that many fans in the area believe could make it to the postseason. Yet even after considering the talent of pitcher Jon Lester, outfielder Jorge Soler and the rest of the squad, Epstein knows that they can only go so far without mental preparation for the long season ahead, the Daily Herald reported.

“Look, as an organization, we do so much for our players to get them physically ready, fundamentally sharp,” Epstein told the news outlet. “It would really be sort of a blatant act of omission and ignorance to just ignore the mental side. So why not be as systematic and sophisticated about it as we possibly can?”

Chandler serves as vocal leader

Tyson Chandler, center for the Dallas Mavericks, was a major part of the team’s upset victory over the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals a few years ago. After spending a few underwhelming seasons with the New York Knicks, he has returned to Dallas and given the team a vocal catalyst and an imposing defender, according to NBA.com.

“The way he plays, he values the present,” Don Kalkstein, the director of sports psychology for the Mavericks, told the news outlet. “I think that’s how he sees his life. He values the present when he makes a connection with somebody, and he’s very genuine and sincere.”

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Mental Health SportsEngine Inc.