Journals are a terrific way to kick off your season, create a foundation for your athletes and return long term benefits. Athletes will be able to establish goals, monitor their progress real time and eventually enjoy looking back on their journey!

Steps for Initial Journal Entry

  1. First, athletes should set a few (2-3) individual short term goals (2-3 weeks) making them as specific as possible. I would encourage at least one to be a mental goal (become aware of self talk, turn negative thoughts into the positive, focus on cues..). Although these are harder to quantify, coaches can help monitor through observation, questioning and conversation.
  2. Also in this first entry, athletes should establish 3-4 individual goals they would like to accomplish by the end of their season. More than 4 goals will get confusing, overwhelming and dilutive.
  3. Finally, each athlete should put down a few thoughts/expectations of how they want their team to interact with each other on the court. In other words, what sort of behavior do they want to have established as teammates (ex: eye contact, huddle, high fives..).
    • It is a great team exercise to discuss and commit to these guidelines for teammate behavior at one of your early practices.
    • The individual short and long term goals can be discussed individually with each athlete.
    • Coaches can provide guidance and also learn what their athletes are focused on, what they feel their challenges are, and help establish the relationship.

Weigh whether team goals are appropriate for your group or not (other than behavioral). The club season is so variable, it is difficult for some teams to set realistic team goals. Regardless, athletes should focus on their own progress and goals as well as any goals committed to team development.

Positives of Journal Entry

  • These initial journal entries are a great opportunity for early season conversations about skill sets, goal setting, expectations, as well as providing insight into athletes’ mindsets.
  • Furthermore, the discussions regarding team behavior are invaluable in creating buy in, establishing expectations and understanding the importance of teamwork from the outset in the season.
  • Journals are a great training aid and companion to accompany athletes through their season journey, providing a visual expression of thought patterns, an opportunity to monitor goals and a way in which they can view personal growth at any time. An invaluable tool for anyone!

Need Some Ideas?

Weekly or Biweekly Entry Possibilities:

  • 5-10 positive things I did in practice today.
  • What I am not grasping yet.
  • Evaluate, modify and/or specify new goals.
  • Notes on team systems (i.e. – serve receive patterns, perimeter defense)
  • What drill I liked most this week? Why?
  • What can I do to make practice more productive, efficient or enjoyable.
  • Rank my practice in the following areas: (ex. – concentration, being a good teammate, consistency of energy…)

Better your team one thought and one journal entry at a time. Contact Mora to receive additional mental training for your club program and team. She can be reached at She works with clubs and college programs across the country to better their athletes on and off the court through mental training.

For related reading for coaches click HERE. For more mental training education click HERE.

About the Author

Mora Kanim is the Founder and President of Coaching C.L.O.U.T. She founded Coaching C.L.O.U.T in 2010 with the vision of sharing her insights with others, and helping them build more effective relationships in their quest for excellence. Currently, Kanim works primarily with collegiate teams, club teams and various companies throughout the U.S. and Canada. Before forming Coaching C.L.O.U.T., Kanim was the Head Volleyball Coach at Kent State University from 1997-2007. She was at the University of Michigan from 1992-1996 and Cal State Northridge from 1989-1991 as an Assistant Volleyball Coach. Kanim also worked with the USA Volleyball team (Atlanta ’96), and the Under 20 USA Soccer Team (2010). A member of the1984 NCAA national championship, and two Final Four teams (1983, 1985), Kanim received her BA degree from UCLA in 1988. She earned her MA in sports studies from KSU. As a former NCAA Division I athlete and coach, Kanim brings a unique perspective to Coaching C.L.O.U.T. In the coaching profession for more than 20 years, Kanim has worked with thousands of athletes and coaches. Her study of Human Behavior has a dramatic impact on her ability to motivate, communicate more effectively with, and create an optimal environment for her athletes.