#181: 3X State Champs – Coach Bre & Senior Captains Expose the Mental Training that Led to 3 Consecutive State Championships

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Have you ever wondered what it takes to win not just once, but three times in a row at the state level in high school volleyball?

I’ve had the unique privilege of coaching the Columbia River High School volleyball team to three consecutive state championships. Today, let’s dive into the stories of Macy, Lauren, and Logan, our senior captains, and explore the significant role mental training played in our victories.

Cultivating Champions Through Experience and Guidance

Over my 12 years of coaching, I’ve encountered many talented teams. However, the leadership qualities of our senior captains were unparalleled in their contribution to our success. Their deep understanding and love for the game, developed over four to six years of being part of the team, were crucial in leading us to victory.

Mental Resilience: The Hidden Strength

Often, the importance of mental training in sports is underestimated. It’s not just about physical abilities; it’s about developing a resilient and confident mindset. Our captains learned to handle pressure, combat nervousness, and build self-confidence, which proved crucial in high-stakes matches.

Captains’ Perspectives: Macy, Lauren, and Logan

Macy, a dedicated setter, emphasized the importance of goal-setting and maintaining focus on each practice and play. She shared how setting milestones was crucial in building towards the ultimate goal of winning the state championship.

Lauren, an outside hitter, highlighted the importance of internal competition during practices. She believed that pushing each other in practice made actual games feel easier, contributing significantly to the team’s overall success.

Logan, a middle blocker, shared her journey of overcoming performance anxiety and self-doubt. She stressed the importance of mental training in building her confidence and enhancing her performance on the court.

Overcoming Challenges: Personal and Collective

Each captain faced their unique challenges throughout the season. Macy struggled with self-confidence in her new role as the primary setter, feeling the pressure to live up to her predecessors. Lauren grappled with the immense expectations of maintaining a winning streak, while Logan worked through her performance anxiety, finding her strength in mental resilience.

Unforgettable Team Moments

The team’s favorite memories weren’t just about winning games but about moments that strengthened their bond. From team-building activities like a murder mystery game to dance parties in the locker room, these experiences were vital in developing team chemistry and alleviating the intense pressure of competitive sports.

Mental Training: A Tool for All Athletes

Our captains unanimously recognized the importance of mental training for all athletes, not just those facing difficulties. Our captains’ stories also show that mental training is more than just a way to fix problems; it’s important for any athlete who wants to be excellent, no matter where they are right now. This became clear in the way they used mental techniques to improve their play and the way the team worked together.

Macy’s journey is particularly noteworthy. She described how she initially found the concept of mental training unusual, even unnecessary. However, as she engaged in it more deeply, the benefits became clear. Her “reset word” and routine became essential tools, helping her to regain focus and composure during critical moments in matches. This technique transformed her approach to the game, turning moments of self-doubt into opportunities for reaffirmation and strength.

Similarly, Lauren’s story is one of a budding belief in the power of mental training. Like Macy, she was initially skeptical about its relevance to volleyball. But her perspective shifted as she started applying these mental skills. The deep breaths and reset words weren’t just techniques; they became integral to her gameplay, allowing her to meet high-pressure situations with a newfound calmness and focus.

Lastly, Logan highlighted an essential aspect of mental training – its impact on physical performance. She emphasized that an athlete’s skill level is inherently linked to their mental state. When confidence decreases, so does performance. Conversely, a strong mental game elevates physical capabilities. For Logan, affirmations and focusing on her breath weren’t just mental exercises; they were tools that significantly improved her physical performance on the court.

Through their personal experiences, all three captains echoed a similar message: mental training is not just for those struggling or facing obstacles; it’s for every athlete who wants to improve and excel. They collectively saw their skills, confidence, and performance enhanced as they incorporated mental training into their routine, a testament to its universal applicability and effectiveness in sports.

The Bottom Line

As a coach, I’ve learned that the secret to building a championship team lies as much in mental training as in physical training. Macy, Lauren, and Logan’s stories highlight the significance of mental strength in sports. They set a standard for future athletes and underscored the importance of mental resilience in achieving sporting excellence. Their journey from talented players to state champions is a true inspiration, emphasizing the vital role of mental fortitude in the realm of competitive sports.

Episode Highlights: 

[00:00] Mental training for high school volleyball athletes. Interviewing three senior volleyball captains that played for Coach Bre about their experience winning three consecutive state championships.

[03:41] Volleyball, leadership, and future plans.

[08:39] Teamwork, mental training, and handling pressure in high school sports. Setting milestones and having a clear vision was important for the team’s success this year. Mental training, teamwork, and confidence in each other were key factors in their championship win.

[15:45] Team chemistry, mental training, and success in volleyball. Team chemistry and love for volleyball were key factors in their success, allowing them to bounce back from ruts and stay motivated even when down by a few points. Players reflect on the impact of mental training and team dynamics on their performance.

[19:35] Mental training for volleyball players. Macy and Lauren credit my mental training program for improving their volleyball skills and mental health, with Macy noting that it helped her reset her mindset and Lauren feeling more confident and less pressured on the court. Logan also credits my training for changing her game, noting that it helped her feel more prepared and confident, and that she’s a better player and teammate as a result.

[23:58] Mental strategies for improving performance in a competitive game. Using “snapback routine” and “reset word” to regain focus during games.

[28:33] Overcoming personal challenges in a sports team leadership role. Each captain faced personal challenges. Macy struggled with self-confidence, being the full-time setter for the first time. Lauren grappled with the pressure of living up to past successes. Logan had to overcome performance anxiety and self-doubt. Their ability to overcome these obstacles was pivotal in their success.

[32:11] High school volleyball season, memories, and leadership. Stepping into different leadership roles this season, focusing on unity and connecting with teammates to build confidence.

[40:35] Mental training for athletes. Mental training can help athletes improve their confidence and overall performance, even if they are already skilled in their sport.

[41:57] Mental training for volleyball players. Mental training helps athletes perform better under pressure and enjoy the sport more. Mental training is essential for enhancing physical performance and building confidence.

Next Steps:

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