How team notebooks can help improve athlete performance

We’ve talked about the importance of coaches keeping journals, but it’s also important for team members to do the same.

Why, you ask?

Well, having team notebooks that work as both a workbook, and a reflective journal, helps athletes critique the team’s play and think more objectively about their performance. Many coaches around the world have incorporated team journals as part of their training and development program.

Head coach of Gongaza University’s Woman’s soccer team, Amy Edwards, shares their post-game routine. The players stretch, hydrate, fuel up, and finally, they write.

In her experience as a coach for the past 30 years, she has noticed that writing helps here athletes learn many lessons while thinking more deeply about their training, competitions, and sports.

“Our players have never been so in tune with each other, and themselves. With Team Notebooks, the players took ownership of their team and destiny. We had the most successful season in program history.”

Including Team Notebooks to an athletic program won’t make up for out of shape athletes or ill-designed training sessions. However, coaches have found that writing provides many benefits, from helping athletes work towards their goals to helping them analyse and observe their performance. During interviews, coaches and athletes also spoke about how Team Notebooks added variety to practice sessions and front-loaded team discussions. 

Other coaches cite that writing improves their athletes’ learning. “My players were able to look at the game from a coach’s point of view and learn how to deal with situations that the other team presented,” says Anthony Neeson, Head Girls’ Soccer Coach at St. Michael the Archangel High School in Baton Rouge, La. 

Ski racing coaches Darrell Gray and Jake Fisher of Burke Mountain Academy in East Burke, Vt., assigned writing activities to their athletes during a training camp in Chile. He later asked the boys on the ski team if writing could make someone a faster racer or a better athlete. 

“Writing makes you learn about yourself,” explained one team member. “Knowing yourself physically and mentally as an athlete is very important. Writing made me think about what I was doing well and what I needed to work on. This made my training and motivation much better.”

Writing helps athletes’s analyse their performance, thought process, and feelings. It brings more meaning to what they are experiencing. Writing is a reminder of what they are working towards.

As a coach, your athletes’ writing provides you with another way to enhance communication. Reading entries in players’ Team Notebooks or Journals, allows you to understand what they’re thinking, and keeps you more in tune with their needs.

Stay tuned for coaching insights and tips at The Sprongo Blog.

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