No matter your sport, training is considered the most important factor when it comes to winning success over your opponents. Whether you are a veteran coach with decades of experience, a rookie assistant planning offensive or defensive strategies, or even a player that is tasked with leading your team to victory, these 10 training trips will give your team the edge they need to reach success.
Tip 1 – Get the Team on the Same Page Mentally
This might seem obvious, but there could be no greater first step on the path to success. Call it building morale, rallying the troops, or casting vision, getting your team to collectively “buy-in” to both the goal of the season and what it takes to get there is the most important thing you can do.
Use the nine mental skills of complete athletes found here to provide a general framework to your players.
Tip 2 – Condition Properly for the Sport
Every sport is different, which means that each sport has different physical demands from its athletes. From golf to soccer, you must clearly know what your players will need to physically exert each time they take their positions.
Before the next season begins, you must take the time to condition your team before any other form of practice takes place. You can’t work on fundamentals of advanced strategies until your players can physically handle the task at hand.
For example, here is a team dry land training routine specific to hockey:
While if you are training to dunk a basketball you can use a training routine like the one here, or use a training routine contained in a sport-specific training video:
Tip 3 – Practice Fundamentals
Practicing fundamentals is the building blocks on which all advanced abilities are founded. Basketball players shoot hundreds of free throws every day. Football kickers spend hours each day refining their art. Before any strategy can take shape, fundamentals must be rehearsed.
Tip 4 – Work Through a Common Routine
Routines are for more than just habit forming or developing a work ethic. In sports, working through common routines help athletes develop muscle memory and automatic reactions in game situations without having to think.
Tip 5 – Shake-Up the Routine Strategically
While routines are important, randomly breaking the routine is just as vital. In weight lifting, this is referred to as “shocking the muscles”.
The justification for breaking the routine comes because the body and mind can become complacent in the routine. Shocking the system by breaking up the routine gives the team a boost for developmental progress.
Tip 6 – Set Individual
Casting vision for your team is important, but it will mean nothing without setting individual goals to which your players can aspire. These can be anything – making a certain number of shots, increasing batting average, running a sprint in a faster time.
The important thing here is to have new goals after which your players can chase.
Tip 7 – Evaluate Player Performance Consistently
If you are going to set goals for your players individually and your team as a whole, you must also evaluate performance and results. Evaluate your players individually on a daily basis throughout practices, and evaluate your team after each and every game or match.
When you evaluate, make sure you are prepared with points of interest in mind. If you are watching game film with your team, you should pre-watch the film and come in with points for your team to study.
Tip 8 – Provide Immediate Feedback
The mark of any good coach or team leader is the ability to give immediate feedback. This comes during the competition and during practice. As the leader, you must be able to make adjustments to your team as needed, and you need to clearly communicate that feedback.
Tip 9 – Develop Strategies that Play to Your Strengths
When it comes to play and strategy development, you must know your team’s and player’s strengths. Your plays should reflect where you are strong and should expose your opponent’s weaknesses. This will enable you to overcome any obstacle thrown your way.
Tip 10 – Know Your Enemy
Studying and evaluating your team is not enough. You must know the intricacies of your opponent as well. The opposing team will also have strengths and weaknesses on which you can capitalize, and you will give your team the best fighting chance at victory by knowing these details.
While these tips cannot guarantee success in every competition for your team, following these 10 guidelines will help you enter each competition as prepared as possible. As the great Vince Lombardi said, “Practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.”