Flag Football



August 12, 2011

This issue's theme: RELENTLESSNESS
"Relentlessness is always a good thing, I don't care what you do for a living."
-Tony LaRussa
I Will Give My Best Effort No Matter What Happens
Coaching Point: Catch Them Doing It Right
"Overheard" from Inside the Minds of Great Athletes
EXTRAordinary Quotes
I Will Give My Best Effort No Matter What; I Will Compete
Today's Mental Skills Tip - All coaches are looking for signs of leadership and toughness from their players. They'll see these signs when their athletes truly understand what it means to give their best effort one pitch at a time. So often, unfortunately, athletes allow the situation to keep them from this lofty goal. Many don't truly max out their effort until it's perceived to be a particularly important game, opponent, or audience. Some "gamers" coast along early in the contest and truly put out their best effort only when they fall behind or it's close in the late innings. Many others push at the start, then coast if they get a lead. Others quit working hard when way behind, subconsciously thinking that a comeback is too unlikely to deserve their best effort. Most have a natural letdown when the opponent is perceived to be weak.
Coasting is not the only reason athletes fail to relentlessly give their best effort one pitch at a time. "Normal" competitors have trouble staying confident when things aren't going well, and they don't perform as well when they're not confident. Some athletes become negative when it's too cold, too hot, too steep, too bumpy, too far, too dry, too wet, or too dirty -- even though they know they give a better effort when they are positive and having fun. Many lose intensity in particular situations, like a 3-0 count, 0-2 count, 2 outs and none on, or hitting with none on base (RBI lovers). Some stop putting out their best effort when they perceive (whether it's true or not) that the umpire, a teammate, or a coach is putting out less than his or her best effort. Whatever the situation, all of these examples represent a lack of mental toughness, a lack of leadership by example, and a missed opportunity to practice giving another best effort performance.
Hopefully athletes learn the dangers of letting an inferior opponent hang around, the risks of taking any situation lightly, and the joys of walking through the door that the other team left open for a great comeback. Hopefully athletes learn to compete one pitch at a time. Now ask yourself: what about relentlessness in practice? (See the Andrew Carnegie quote below.)

Catch Them Doing It Right
COACHING POINT - Make sure your athletes understand that to play the game the right way means to give a best effort performance to whatever they are doing RIGHT NOW. This is the only performance we have any control over, and this is the only way to reach the goal of approaching our potential. Approaching potential is a wonderful top goal because it focuses us on what can be controlled to help us reach all our other goals, such as winning, looking good, getting more playing time, getting recruited to the next level, etc. When you catch an athlete working hard in an environment that provides little external rewards, seize this opportunity to praise.