7 time national title winning Alabama football coach Nick Saban is a big believer in the importance of the psychological aspects of athletic performance and coaching.He works with mental game coaches like Dr. Kevin Elko to maximize mental preparation and football motivation.Here are three ways Saban uses the mental game to motivate his players. Excerpted from the book – “The Football Coach’s Game Plan for Leadership.”
The following provides insights into the Nick Saban coaching philosophy.
1) Knows How and When to Push Players Motivational Buttons.
Example: When Alabama lost to LSU a few years ago and got a chance at a rematch in the national title game Elko’s message was: “Remember how you felt right after you lost to LSU? Remember how you felt when you looked across the room at the other players with a broken heart? Now prepare and play this game so you don’t have to feel that way again.”
“I’ve learned a tremendous amount from guys like Kevin that has really helped me understand the best way to help manage guys psychologically so that they have a better chance of being successful,” Saban said.
2) Understands the Difference between Praise and Encouragement.
Encouragement is different from praise.If your kid comes home with a report card and it’s all A’s, this is praise: “Bobby, you got all A’s. That’s incredible.”
Here’s encouragement: “Bobby, I saw you doing the things that brought you these grades. I saw you working hard and doing all your homework assignments. I’m glad you like learning.’”
3) Knows How to Use Motivational Catch Phrases.
Sports motivation quotes and phrases are a big part of Alabama’s football culture and players catch them like touchdown passes. Many will write some of the more popular ones down.
One of Coach Saban’s favorites and one he repeats often is Benjamin Franklin’s phrase, “Pain instructs.” A longer version is as follows:“There are two pains in life. There is the pain of discipline and the pain of disappointment. If you can handle the pain of discipline, you will rarely have to deal with the pain of disappointment.”
Another popular Sabanism is “Dead Soldiers Fighting.”
“We get completely caught into a step-by-step of winning the game, and there’s a phrase we got into,” Elko said. “There were a bunch of these soldiers, and they kept on winning these battles. People said to these soldiers, ‘How do you keep on winning?’ They said, ‘We’re dead soldiers fighting. Once we quit worrying about winning and losing, we got lost in the fighting.’”
See what Nick Saban and America’s greatest football coaches do to increase athletic motivation, run great practices and build champion level programs in the book –