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Beating the Odds

Training for Adversity

No matter who you pick in the upcoming NCAA tournaments, you can be sure of one thing: The winner will have to overcome adversity.

Injuries, bad calls and momentum swings will test the will of all teams, and the one that responds best will win.

It will take mental toughness to survive, which raises a key question. In planning their practices, why don’t more coaches work on building that kind of toughness?

If it’s a sure thing that every team will face adversity in games, then every team should face adversity in practice.

A creative coach can find many ways to test will as well as skill.
— Find drills that put the athletes into pressure situations.
— Make the athletes succeed at a certain skill several times in a row.
— Throw in an officiating “mistake” now and then.
— Pipe in loud noise to simulate a rowdy crowd.

There is a fancy phrase related to this kind of training. It’s called state dependent remembering, which means that when someone learns something, their mood and the surroundings become part of the same memory.

So if the skills are learned in a calm environment, the athlete will have a hard time performing them in a crazy gym.

What ways do you use to train for adversity?
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