Mental performance is a key aspect of sport as athletes learn and grow within the volleyball domain. We often hear young athletes describe their struggles as ‘overthinking’ or ‘focus’ but rarely can they define the actual process behind what they are feeling. The goal of the Mental Performance Series is to provide coaches with the tools to help athletes further understand their own motivation and underlying strengths, necessary adaptations, and underlying needs in sport.
The first part of this eight-week series focuses on shared values. As teams begin to learn and play together, they develop a unique team culture. It is very rare that the experience of coaching a team is similar from one group to the next, and this holds true due to the underlying culture that players and coaches develop based on their individual dispositions. Their dispositions include aspects of readiness, personality, and values that drive them.
Understanding and identifying team values early on is essential as teams begin to form together. These values are the ‘roots’ of motivated behavior. Imagine a garden, where the plant is growing but the roots do not set in properly. That plant will struggle at the first sign of bad weather, whereas a plant with defined roots has a better likelihood of resiliency in the face of storms. Your team operates similarly. A team with established and shared values, who forms their identity around their understandings and goals, establishes roots that hold resilient in the face of loss, conflict, and struggle. Players that understand their ‘why’ as a team are more likely to behave in ways that honor their ‘why’.
Part One of this series discusses what a core value is, how core values operate and change behavior, how to define these values, and implementation strategies for how to work with your team as they grapple with this concept. As we move forward each week, we will continue to build on these concepts, how they work together, and discuss different aspects of goal setting, conflict, coping, and reflection in motivated behavior.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to continuing this series with you!
About the Author
Lauren Pierce is a Performance Consultant for athletes, coaches, and players in Tucson, AZ. She is currently a Mindset Coach for Club Cactus Juniors Volleyball, a JVA member club, and holds her PhD in Educational Psychology where she studies aspects of team and individual motivation. Lauren grew up playing sports and continues to compete at the elite level in obstacle course racing. Her time as an athlete and coach motivated her to pursue research applications related to ‘the mental game’. The passion and commitment of the athletes and coaches that she has worked with inspired her to continue her work by developing a mental performance program as she pursues future research and teaching in academia.