Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Rebuilding Team Confidence (Video)

At the Institute for the Study of Youth Sports at Michigan State, we have assembled a few videos regarding building team confidence. This video features Dr. Larry Lauer providing some practical advice for ice hockey coaches seeking to improve team and player confidence.

More videos will follow later this week, which I will post at this site.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Great Insights at the 2011 Midwest AASP Conference

Life skill acquisition. Sport and gender. Mental toughness. The culture of high-performance youth sport. These topics and more were discussed at the 2011 Midwest AASP conference (Feb 18-19), hosted by Miami University in Oxford, OH. The conference was heavily student-driven, and included over twenty presentations of research and research proposals. There was a strong contingent of undergraduate presenters... always good to see undergrads getting involved early. I'll discuss a few of the presentations that resonated with me in my post below.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Thoughts on Race-Preparation for Swimming

After spending ten years as a swimming coach, I find it hard to come to mid-February without standing on a pool deck somewhere. I got a question about "tapering" and I thought I would post up some of my thoughts on the process. For those unfamiliar with a taper, it is the gradual reduction of training volume and intensity in order to help induce a super-compensation effect (the body outperforms previous best performances). It is interesting that in other sports, this process is called peaking; the language has a strong, positive connotation, it implies peak performance. In swimming, the word "taper" suggests cutting back; not really a positive or negative connotation, it implies "just take it easy, and everything will fall into place." If that's your approach, why even bother holding practice?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Brief Diversions During Training

An interesting study confirms what many of us already suspect: brief diversions help us to retain focus on a task over the long-term. A five minute Facebook update or a brief walk around the office can help return focus to the task when the break is over... as opposed to trying to maintain focus for an uninterrupted period of time. The researchers suggest that your brain loses interest in stimuli that remain constant. For instance, fifteen minutes after you have put on your clothes, you tend to no longer notice the sensations they produce. What does this mean for athletes and their coaches?