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Lacrosse Mental Training Tips

Lacrosse BallKeeping practice interesting and staying motivated is a big challenge for many lacrosse players, and can be even more difficult during the blackout period where many players are relegated to working out on their own. Often times, players simply become bored with the monotony, and don’t feel challenged enough. Or they fall into the mindset of, “Since, coach isn’t here. I don’t need to try as hard.” This lack of interest and discipline, can lead to less than optimal levels of concentration and motivation, which ultimately lead to ineffective workout and practice sessions.
Here are a few tips to help alleviate the boredom and to help get the most of out practices.
1. Establish practice objectives. Develop an overall practice plan of skill improvement, and then break practices down into daily objectives. Going into a workout with predetermined objectives of what you are trying to improve upon will help you stay focused on the task at hand. Limit objectives to 2-4 things for each practice, as it is much more efficient and allows for more “quality” reps without the distraction of trying to work on everything.
2. Set measurable practice goals. Set goals or “games” that can be measured to challenge yourself during practice. For example, you can challenge yourself to hit 8 out of 10 shots. Imagine yourself in game situations and try to place the ball 8 out of 10 tries. The more “games” you can play to make practice interesting, the better your concentration and motivation.
3. Take a break. It sounds simple, but taking a 2-5 minute break or “timeout” when you are starting to feel bored during practice, will allow you to simply relax and clear your mind. Once the break is over, re-focus on your practice objectives.
4. 2 minutes!!! Next time you are at practice and feel yourself starting to get bored and lose focus, try the “two-minute drill.” The goal of this drill is to sharply focus attention on practice for just two minutes. See how keenly you can focus for those two minutes. When the two minutes are over you can relax and space out if you want. The goal is to practice with focus and intensity for short periods. Short bursts of intense focus with periods of rest or inactivity is better than practicing with 50% focus for the entire practice. As you begin to get better at focusing your concentration, you will want to start stretching the focus time to 4, 5, even 6 minutes!
Jared Ocana, M.S., is a Mental Skills Coach and Adjunct Faculty at Westminster College in the Human Performance and Wellness Department. Besides working with student-athletes at the school in 17 intercollegiate sports, Ocana also provides coaching and training to individual athletes along the Wasatch Front. To connect with Jared, or have questions or comments, you can reach him at:
(801) 448-6818

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