Motivation is often said to be the key to successful performance. One of the cornerstones of motivation is positive reinforcement.
Positive Reinforcement and Rewards
When used appropriately reinforcement is one of the primary communication tools of a successful coach. Reinforcement is used to praise an athlete when he/she does well or to get an athlete to stop undesirable behavior. Reinforcement is relative and not absolute. For reinforcement to work, a coach must be consistent and systematic in its use. If you are not consistent, your athletes will behave erratically, like the coach. If you are not systematic, you will send confusing messages to your athletes.
One skill at a time. Correct only one behavior or movement at a time.
Ask before giving correction. Allow the chance to explain what they believe they did. This lets them feel they are a part of the process.
Find the cause. The cause of an error may be something that you may not see. Again, ask the athlete what they believe they are doing.
Provide constructive instruction. Avoid too much of "what's not right" by focusing on "how to do it right." Always build up the athlete; do not tear them down.
Praise before correction. Begin with a positive comment about something that the athlete is doing well. Now they are attuned to you. You have gained their attention and trust. Follow up with constructive instruction. Be concise and to the point. Remember to send another message of praise and encouragement.
Rewarding athletes is not always as easy as it sounds. Below are a few tips on rewarding your athletes.
Reward the performance, not the outcome.
Reward athletes just as much for their effort as you do for the desired outcome.
Reward little accomplishments on the way to learning an entire skill.
Reward the learning and performance of desired emotional and social skills too.
Reward frequently, especially when new skills are being learned.
Reward as soon as possible when new skills are learned.
Reward an athlete when they have earned it.
It is only natural for athletes to misbehave. As a coach, you can respond to an athlete's misbehavior with a positive or negative approach. One positive approach is to ignore the bad behavior. This approach can prove successful in certain situations because punishing the athlete's misbehavior encourages them to act out more. Ignoring misbehavior does not work when the athlete causes danger to himself/herself or other teammates and coaches. In that case, immediate action is necessary. Ignoring misbehavior is also not successful when the misbehavior is self-rewarding to the athlete.
Punishment is also a means to correcting an athlete's misbehavior. Below are a few suggestions for appropriate use of punishment.
Use punishment when team rules are violated.
When possible give a warning before using punishment.
Be consistent when administering punishment.
Do not choose a punishment that causes you to feel guilty or upset.
Once a punishment has been given, do not make the athlete feel like they are still in trouble.
Punish sparingly, only when absolutely necessary.
Wouldn't it be nice if there were a special place where every team or player was a winner? In this fantasy world, scores would be meaningless since every player and team would be deemed champion. Obviously, sport does not only consist of winners. For example, in Tennis every player loses except the tournament winner. On the other hand, it is the risk of losing that makes sport exciting. The challenge and uncertainty in sport provides much of the thrill and an obsession with winning can help avoid defeat.
Athletes that are task oriented often display high intrinsic motivation, produce maximum effort, and sustain longer concentration across a number of performance situations. Players emphasizing performance goals (e.g., higher percentage of made free throws) over outcome goals (e. g., winning) sustain more attention for the immediate task at hand. Getting wrapped up in thoughts about outcome only leads to distraction, anxiety, and pressure, e.g. “If we win tonight we can take over first place.”
Staying focused on performance goals keeps you firmly in the present and can prevent the loss of self-confidence that could occur when playing a “stronger team.”
Quick, recall the best sports performance of your life. You may not remember the details well because you were so completely absorbed in the moment. Chances are you were “in the zone.” This is where things were effortless and automatic. Time went by quickly and your thoughts did not hinder your performance. Thinking about past mistakes or possible outcomes would have only spoiled this peak experience. Your focus on performance that day was effective and winning took care of itself. Ideally, this is where you want to be every game.
One way to remain focused on performance is to set short-term goals. These should include daily, weekly, and monthly goals. Use a notebook to keep track of your goals. Use a comment section to help determine if the goals are realistic. If they are not, you must set the bar a tad lower.
Make sure that your performance goals are specific, measurable, and realistic. Here are some examples of performance goals:
Increase your jumping height by 2 inches to improve a volleyball spike.
Increase your free throw success from 55 to 70 percent.
Replace every on-field negative self-statement with a positive statement.
Decrease your 40-yard dash time by 2 seconds.
Reduce your unforced errors by 50 percent.
So let’s take the emphasis off winning and concentrate on performance goals. After all, these are goals you can control.
The week started well for North Shore with a win against Oyster Bay. Hanna Hacker allowed four hits over five innings with four strikeouts, Alley Grande’s RBI for Anne Duffy in the fourth inning made it it 2-1 for North Shore. This win was Conference Champs for North Shore. In the first game of playoffs against Island Trees, the Vikings tied up the game 2-2 in the 6th but lost 3-2 in the bottom of the 7. It was a hard loss for a strong team that had a great season.
Towson Club Lacrosse team participated this year in the 2010 Cherry Blossom Lacrosse Festival in Washington D.C. on April 17. The team, led by Captain Meghan Wall, a 2007 Glen Cove High School graduate, won 3 games and tied 1 in the tournament.
Entering their Monday evening contest with Manhasset, the North Shore Vikings Varsity Softball team was looking to extend their conference record to a 12-3 total. To accomplish this, they would end up needing one run, and it came very early in the game.
The top of the first inning saw North Shore score the only run of the game, when Elle Hoffman bunted in the game’s only run, with Christine Castiglione scoring on the play. North Shore pitcher Hanna Hacker took over from there, striking out seven batters over 5 shutout innings. She picked up the win and North Shore gave themselves the victory they were looking for, as well as that 12th conference win. This also happened to be the second time this season North Shore defeated Manhasset in a one run game, the other time the score ended at 3-2.
The Glen Cove Boy’s Lacrosse Team enter the last week of the 2010 season after a tough loss to number 1 seed Lynbrook. Owen Valance was the Big Red high scorer with 3 goals, Dougie Tripp and Daven Plummer each added one.
The Big Red will celebrate Senior Day on Friday, May 14. The game marks the last home game for the Big Red’s 14 seniors. Many of the boys started out as third-graders graders in the Jr. League and all will be heading off to college next year.
The North Shore Men’s Lacrosse team earned an exciting victory over the McArthur Generals this past Saturday at the annual North Shore Lacrosse Day. North Shore played tough defense throughout only allowing 4 goals. The defense was lead by goaltender Alec Volpe who recorded 22 saves.
Assisting Volpe on the defensive end was Dan Broker, Macklin Carballal, and Nick Capparelli.
Under the lights, the Girl’s Varsity Lacrosse Team played a very skilled and tough game against Elmont. The girls very quickly established their passing game to counter the innate speed of the Elmont Girls. This allowed us to get the ball down into the offense and get a shot off before they had their defense in place. The girls worked so well as a team with everyone being a contributing factor.
The defense was spearheaded by Brittany Baker, who called the plays and set up the defense, the other players being: Tori, Ali and Emily Durso, Julie Bruschini, and Julia Oh.
Last week, the Glen Cove Boy’s Lacrosse Team opened conference play with a convincing 12-3 victory over the Malverne/East Rockaway Rockin’ Mules. Leading the way offensively for the Big Red were Dougie Tripp and Owen Valance each scoring four goals, Ryan Zupa had two, Daven Plummer and Chris Borer each scored one. Kevin Nicholas added three assists and Mike Moglia had one.
The Lady Vikings are still going strong with two Conference crossover games this week. Their record is now 10-2 for the season. On April 21 they beat Valley Stream North 6-1, Elle Hoffman had two homeruns and Christine Castiglione went 3-4 with an RBI. Pitcher Hanna Hacker who joined the Varsity team in eighth-grade, has proven to be a very strong player for this team. Elle Hoffman had another home run against Wheatley and Regan Falk went 2 for 3 with two RBIs. A tradition in High School sports is the Senior Game, the last home game of the season where the younger players honor the outgoing Seniors. At the April 27th game, North Shore wished all the best to Regan Falk, Elle Hoffman, Jennifer Melgar and Megan Silka, North Shore team players all through their school years.
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