Thursday, April 25, 2013

Uplifting Exercise

A few days ago, I was reading a book of motivational games I picked up from a yard sale.  I didn’t realize it at the time, but it is for cooperate companies, not for sports.  There are a ton of great ideas that you can adapt for sports programs and cheerleading in general.  It really focuses on goal setting.  The book is called: The Big Book of Motivation Games.  By Robert Epstein, Ph.D.

I saw an exercise in it that I used every year for my cheerleaders before a big performance.
The exercise is called “All That You Can Be” in the book. 

In a Nutshell:
“In a partially-guided imagery exercise, participants visualize themselves working at their peak performance.”

What It’s For:
Use this game if you want to: perform at your peak; boost yur energy when its low; envision and achieve your personal goals; motivate your staff members (Cheerleaders) to perform at their peak; etc.

I use it to help the team visualize themselves performing the routine perfectly in their mind so that when they get on the floor or field they have already ‘done’ it.  It requires no special materials or handouts and only takes about 10 minutes.  It boosts confidence in each athlete quite a bit! 

What To Do:
Advise participants to sit in a relaxed position, close their eyes and breathe easy.  Then recite the following text in a soothing voice:

What I Do:
Have the participants lay on the floor, not touching each other, eyes closed.  I slowly start talking them through the moments before the routine and all the way through until the performance is done. It is important that they think of their answers and stay quiet. 
Here is what we would do if we were preparing for competition:
*Imagine sitting in the bleachers waiting your turn.  What do you see?  Hear?
*Your in the practice room.  Imagine the mat, the other teams stretching and warming up. 
*Next your on deck, standing in the tunnel.  Look around at your teammates.  Imagine how excited they will be when you perform your best. 
*Now, take the floor.  Imagine running onto the mat.  Do you see the crowd?  Do you see the judges?

At this point I start playing their competition music and have them mentally run through the routine. After the music is over we go back.
You've hit your ending stunt and dismount to the floor.  As you rally off, do you see your friends and family?  Do you see your team mates?  Do you see your coach?  How does it feel to be done?

When we are done with the mental run-through, I ask them about how they felt.  Were they proud? Did everything hit in their mind? 

If they had problems in a certain area in their mind, those are the areas we focus on at practice.  It is important to discuss the exercise at the end.  It helps the kids understand why we are doing it and it gives them the opportunity to SEE themselves performing correctly.  We do this every time before we compete and they all like it. 

Give it a try for your team, see how it works!

No comments:

Post a Comment