coaching championship games
The following is an excerpt from my book Coaching Champions For Life:
Most championship games are lost not won.
Many more physical and mental errors are difference-makers in big games than are home runs hit off of great pitches, for example. And of the two, mental errors are the bigger culprit because mental factors such as inexperience with dealing with pressure and adversity, self-doubt, and insufficient practice time at game-speed and game-intensity all lead to the physical errors that lose championships.
Furthermore, spend the majority of your time perfecting your defense. In most sports, great defense wins championships. Offense, scoring lots of points, runs or whatever, is exciting, but good defenses (I’m including pitching when I say good defense in baseball, of course) shut down good offenses. The reason is not just physical, but mental too.
Ask yourself this, what fires up your team more in football and takes the heart out of the other team more, a long touchdown pass by your offense or a goal line stand by your defense? In soccer, a “header” off of a corner kick for a goal by your offense or a penalty kick save by your goalkeeper? A grand slam home run in baseball or a double play with bases loaded to end the inning turned by the defense?
Make mental preparation, competitions with real pressure and perfecting your defense the emphasis of your practice time and you will win championships.