Thursday, January 18th, 2018

Teaching toughness

December 10, 2012 by  
Filed under Coaching, Make Up, Mental Side

Can you teach toughness?  I think the answer is YES.  I will admit that it is very hard, though.  The reason why I say yes is that the military does it every day.  They routinely turn average kids into warriors.  Warriors with a higher tolerance

Toughness can be improved!

for pain, better drive, assertiveness, and self-discipline as well.

I think the mistake people make is believing that kids need to get more toughness.  They don’t need to get toughness.  They already have it.  It has just been suppressed  in a culture that doesn’t require much toughness anymore.  I mean, how tough are you going to be when you have heated toilet seats in your home?

Below are four ways to insert toughness training into your program.

1. Give kids permission to be tough and aggressive.  In fact, tell them that most forms of success in life require it.  Being “tough and aggressive” are not the same as being a “bully.”  Many kids don’t know the difference because our society attempts to rid kids of ALL aggressive behavior.  There is a time, a place, and a manner for aggression and kids need to know when it is appropriate and how to do it.  Show them.

2. Incorporate some toughness training into your workoutsHERE is a college example.  HERE is a high school one (at minute 3:00)

3. Bring out the boxing equipment.  I’m not kidding.  Not only is boxing a fabulous workout for endurance and shoulder-wrist-hand strength, it teaches players that there is a time and place for aggressiveness.  Because of this, a number of weight rooms have started to put up punching bags and speed bags to tap into this.  I’ll dedicate a future post on specific boxing drills that can be used.  On another note, many boxing techniques like stance, rhythm, and using your entire body while punching transfer well to the proper mechanics of playing baseball as well.  To get you started, look at the video HERE.

4. Praise aggressiveness and mental toughness.  Be clear to your players that you want to see it in your team.  Often these examples of toughness do not appear in the box scores.  You have to point them out to people.

The point is, as coaches, there are some things we can do to bring out the toughness that already exists in our players.  We may never succeed in doing this with all of our players but some will show improvement.  As you know, having one or two additional tough players in a lineup can make all the difference.

Do you agree that toughness can be taught and/or brought out in players?  What things have you done to improve your players’ toughness?  Let us know!

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