Enjoying Daily Improvement

By Chad Doerr, M.A. @ChadDoerr November 17th, 2014

Thank you for finding the McMillin Center blog! The staff is very excited to start providing content to help athletes, coaches, and parents create an atmosphere where athletes can foster and grow. In this blog you will find many different topics regarding the mental side of sport. From confidence and composure, to values and coaching education, we hope no stone will go un-turned on your journey to achieving performance excellence.

Challace McMillin Center for Sport Psychology
Feather River College Walk Off Home Run in 2009

My passion for sport psychology and achieving high performance started with this home run pictured above. As a member of the Feather River College baseball team, I witnessed a group of guys un-recruited by other colleges win many games and make my time with college baseball one of the best experiences in my life. In this picture, we had just beaten a team that was “more talented than us”. This is my friend hitting a walk-off home run to send us to the next round of the playoffs. I’ll never forget this moment, as we all felt the indescribable joy of achieving our goals that we had worked hard all year to accomplish. It is a feeling that every player and coach should be able to experience in their life.

I remember watching this and thinking, how was our team able to perform so well, all of the time? What was different about us from other teams that seemly had more “talented” players? Why was this experience so much fun, compared to other times playing baseball?

When it came down to it, we were mentally better than other teams and found passion in daily improvement.

With this in mind, I dedicated my life towards teaching and understanding how we achieve performance excellence. One of the greatest lessons I learned from this team that I can share with you is to find a way to make learning enjoyable. Even at the college level, we enjoyed showing up to practice every day, which led us to work harder and find motivation, even when times weren’t easy. We created a culture where daily improvement was enjoyable.

We enjoyed practice because we were constantly connected us with a clear sense of purpose. Every day, the players and coaches had a plan and knew exactly why we were doing specific drills, and also the big picture goal of winning our conference and playoff games. Not only did we do this, but we had fun doing it.

So, as an athlete or a coach, ask yourself:

  1. What do I enjoy about my sport?
  2. What is you or your team’s mission?
  3. How do I make myself or my team’s experience striving toward this mission enjoyable every day?

By reflecting on these questions, you may be able to ignite that burning passion that transforms your team from good to great. This only happens when players and coaches show up daily with a purpose.