The following is an email I received from my friend and colleague, Dean Benton, Performance Director for the Brisbane Broncos. This reminded me again that I am not a punishment coach or a mental toughness coach. Each of us has a responsibility to teach our athletes, that is implicit in coaching. Teaching concentration and focus is part of what I do in every session. Here are Dean’s comments:
Just read your blog about mental toughness. I couldn’t agree more. I pissed me off when coaches who think, simplistically, that smashing players with copious amounts of conditioning will solve a myriad of problems that underpin poor performance when it arises. Without doubt you cannot get physically fit with being mentally tough and vis versa- I subscribe to this wholeheartedly. However, using conditioning as tool to try and directly instill mental toughness suggests and can do the following:
- Every training session has to be hard to be beneficial
- Athletes develop a negative attitude to the training process
- It breeds distrust between the AD coach and athletes
Training (athletic development) should be seen as a privilege not a burden. I found this simplistic remedy way too common in the football codes. It’s used when thinking and player/coach responsibility stops.