Here’s an easy guide to help your athlete start journaling and keep a healthy mindset. With all of the changes this year has brought, we have told our athletes over and over again that you have to control what you can control. And let’s face it, we may not be able to control too much right now. Part of playing a sport is the physical part, it is the part that gets you moving and scoring those baskets or goals or touchdowns. The other part is the mental mindset. And one of the great ways to help your mental mindset is journaling. These easy to do helpful tips, can benefit your athlete.
We have all been in those games, the score is tied with minutes left. The players are tired and you are down to the wire, the score is tight. It ends up becoming not who is in better shape but who wants it more. It ends up being mental.
There has been many claims to journaling but the most documented is by University of Texas social psychologist James W. Pennebaker. There are many theories on why journaling is important. It helps us declutter our minds and helps us make some sense of how we are feeling, which results in improving both mental and physical well being.
Benefits of an Athletes Journal
Increased Mental Well Being
Ability to Better Achieve Goals
Strengthen Self Discipline
Build Mental Resilience
Improve Communication Skills
How To Start Your Athletes to Journal
Get a Journal or Use your Phone
They are easy to come by. Head to your big box store, online or use an extra notebook you have at home. They are of minimal cost and always in stock. There is no perfect kind of journal, your athlete has to feel comfortable with what they write in or on. But you don’t need to actually write, the benefits of journaling are the same if you use your phone, tablet or laptop. So techy’s can rejoice!
Give your athletes themes on a regular basis
Schedule weekly themes for your athletes. Some themes that are good starters:
What are your goals for the season? Both as a team and individually
What are your strengths and weaknesses? Or we like to say, what are your areas of opportunities?
What does a good teammate look like?
What qualities make a good coach?
List a sound that made you happy today
List a color that made you happy today and why
Let them Journal in Free Form
Allow your athletes to write anything they want in their journal. Some call it free form, this allows your athletes to write what they want and when they want. The journal becomes a safe place.
Let your Athletes Share Their Thoughts
Some athletes like to talk about what they write. It is important to ask that question both as individuals and in a team setting. A question you can ask directly to individual players is “what did they write down as their strengths and weaknesses?”. This is an easy way to start some dialogue with your athlete about player development. It also puts them in the driver’s seat on development, basically giving them the ownership of their future.
Happy Journaling! And as a coach, don’t forget about yourself too. Make sure you journal!