Coaching mental toughness on the team level is no easy task. Not only do all individuals respond to athletic competition in different ways, but teams are often formed with physical and strategic goals in mind rather than mental ones. In light of that, how do we ensure that the team’s mental perspective and approach align? Without a strong mental identity, all the physical potential in the world can’t succeed. The best teams seem to effortlessly merge their perspectives, and it’s time to dig deeper into how that works.
“A winning team is made up of like-minded individuals who are committed to the pursuit of excellence and who understand that getting as good as possible and going all the way is far easier when everyone works together and has similar goals.”
– Dr. Alan Goldberg
Notice that, in this quote, Dr. Goldberg doesn’t reference skills or strategy at all. Much of his mental toughness coaching is focused on the process rather than the outcome, and this quote in particular brings out the importance of having unified perspective on a team. It’s all about being clear about goal-setting and agreeing to commit to a common process.
A great example of this concept in action is three national champions San Francisco Revolver. Revolver has championed their mantra of IHD (Intensity, Humility, Discipline) as a unifying perspective to approach their goals as a team. In a 2011 interview then captain Robbie Cahill described the acronym by saying: “We want Revolver to be an ongoing program that keeps to its values.” By creating a unique mental approach for members of the team to buy into Revolver has found success pursuing excellence in the way that Dr. Goldberg described.
How does your team work to align your mental goals? Do you have a mantra? A check-in system? Let us know what has worked for you in the comments.