Sunday, September 12, 2010

Coach Forrest McKinnis: Motivating a team with superior talent

Coach Forrest McKinnis has 10 years of head varsity coaching experience with multiple levels of success. In 2004, the former graduated of Eastern Oregon University coach McKinnis led his team to the school's first ever #1 ranking in the state polls. He is the founder of Coach Mac's Basketball Resources  (, was a Conference Coach of the Year in '02, '04, and '05, was selected to coach the Gatorade All-Star Series in 2004, and was voted Educator of the Year in 2006. Coach McKinnis is also the author of more than 20 playbooks.

In 2004, it didn't take me long to discover I had one of those special teams; a team for a decade in our small quite community and a team of a lifetime for any coach. It seemed as though this team took care of everything without proposition - from the classroom to the court they were "winners". They were driven, played with a high level of passion and ironically they were blind to their potential. The team chemistry was seamed together with a bond of kinship not sold in any "how-to" book.

The point-guard, my team captain, was cut from the perfect leaders mold. The forwards were dynamic, and the post was soon to be the biggest surprise in the state. In short, they were good, they were really good and they knew it. It wasn't long before I realized we were afflicted with a single-but potentially fatal flaw: we lacked motivation. As a coach, it was my job to saddle this group of superior athletes with a sense of motivation. So, how do you motivate the top athletes who are not driven by competition alone?
The answer: Zoom Focus.

Zoom Focus is a mental state of mind which can only be achieved through proper psychological advancements. Zoom Focus - or mental clarity - is the center piece of success. How as coaches do we introduce and vale, zoom focus?

The answer is found in four steps:

Superior athletes search for internal motivation from external accomplish.
First, superior athletes must set goals based on self-determination and extrinsic motives. Second, as a coach use extrinsic rewards. "Player of the game" awards work well in this sense if the award is presented in front of the team. Third, motivate with music. Music can be used to create the perception  of inspiration. Finally, introduce the athletes to positive self-talk.

Positive self-talk is a technique that can be used to enhance motivation across a wide range of achievement domains. It makes use of the athlete's powerful inner voice to reinforce their self-esteem or important aspects of their performance.

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