How to get better in sports

How to get better in sports

When runners talk about wanting to improve their runs over a set distance in a short amount of time, they typically want to get faster, run with more efficiency and ease, and build their confidence. Though two weeks is not a lot of time to shed minutes per mile, it is enough time to make noticeable improvements. Consistently incorporating a few running training techniques will help you become a better runner quickly.

Run Faster

Designate one day each week to concentrate on speed. During your outdoor run, notice the light poles. After about a quarter mile, run as fast as you can from one light pole to the next. Slow your pace and catch your breath as you run to the next pole. When you get there, repeat your speed work, running as fast as you can to the next pole. You can do this with houses, mailboxes or other landmarks outdoors during your full 2 miles.

Run More Powerfully

With hill repeats, you run rapidly up a hill, recover and repeat. Choose a hill that is about 200 meters. Run up the hill as quickly as you can and then turn around and slowly run downhill. Repeat this sequence eight times to log 2 miles. By including one day each week of hill repeats in your focused two-week training regimen, you will gain strength that will allow you to run more powerfully on flat surfaces.

Run Longer

Carve out enough time one day of each week to complete a longer run. Running more miles on your long run day will make your standard runs easier. So that you will not increase the likelihood of getting injured, you want to incrementally increase your mileage during long run days. On the first week of your training, run 2.5 miles on your long run day. Strive for 3 miles on week two.

Run Stronger

Strength train on the days you are not running. When you strength train, you improve your running economy, get physically stronger and decrease your risk of experiencing a running-related injury. You can certainly begin making strength strides that will improve your running performance in only a couple weeks. Do 20 to 30 minutes of strength-training leg exercises like lunges, squats and calf raises on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Use Saturdays to do 20 to 30 minutes of light upper-body strength training and to rest. Maintain a balanced resistance routine, and you will notice substantial improvements in your running performance over time.

Run Consistently

To improve your running, especially in a short period of time, you have to run on a consistent basis. Take your run indoors when the weather is not agreeable. Treadmill running will help you maintain a consistent pace and allow you to remain committed to your training when bad weather tempts you to take a running day off. Remember that running consistently does not necessarily meaning running every day. Devote four days each week to running. Use Mondays to do your speed work, Wednesdays to do your hill work, Fridays to complete your longer runs and Sundays to listen to your body and run accordingly.

  • Running Planet: Top Ten Ways to Improve Your Long Run
  • Running Times: Run Stronger, Run Longer: How Strength Training Benefits Runners

Mary Marcia Brown has worked in the health and fitness industry for more than 15 years. A writer and runner with road race directorship experience, Brown has been published in "Running Journal," "Florida Running & Triathlon" and "Outreach NC."

As a sports player, the will to be the best is what keeps you turning out onto the pitch every single weekend. To take your place amongst the very best and stay there, you can’t afford to stand still.

Raising your game and improving on past performances doesn’t just come down to natural ability. There are a number of steps you can take right now, each of which can form those gradual steps to sporting greatness.

1. Have a one on one

Before you can think about moving forward as a player, you need to get a grip on where you are. Undertake a full and frank analysis of your ability as a player. For this, you’re going to need the input of your coach and other important people in your sporting life.

Technical skill, understanding of your sport and mental characteristics should all be discussed in what can essentially be an audit of your game. A key participant in this process is your coach. They’re likely to know your game just as well as you, will be the most qualified to suggest ways to improve and can be on hand to track your progress.

Once you’ve got a hold of your strengths and weaknesses, you’ll be able to focus on improving the areas you need to become a better player.

2. Create a plan and set goals

The next step in your journey to becoming a better player follows directly from establishing those strengths and weaknesses. Take that list of areas where you could be better and make a season-long plan to improving upon them.

How to get better in sports
Again, your coach can play a significant role in this process. As a coach, they’ll be able to draw upon on your sporting knowledge to think of drills or activities that can help you reverse a weakness in your game.

Once you have a long-term plan in place, set some goals so you can track your progress. These should be regular, achievable milestones that keep you motivated to constantly improve.

Goals are a great way of maintaining enthusiasm and determination throughout a season. Plus, failing to get to one can act as further motivation to get back on the training pitch and improve that area of weakness.

3. Condition correctly

It doesn’t matter how much ability you carry into a game; if you’re not physically prepared you won’t be able to execute your skills for the duration of the game.

During the weeks and months of your off-season, it might seem like the easy option to switch off your sporting brain and switch-on your Netflix and beer brain. But undergoing a strength and conditioning programme (detailed here for football players and rugby players) can boost your performance on the pitch in a number of ways.

Strength underpins your performance as a player. With greater strength you can run faster, jump higher and change direction quicker.

Plus, strength and conditioning training helps to reduce your chance of injury. No player improves when they’re at on the sidelines. A body in peak condition will help to keep you out on the pitch working on your weaknesses for longer.

4. Practice, practice, practice

Practice makes perfect. It’s as finer sporting cliché as you’ll find, but it’s as true now as it’s ever been. Skills, drills and techniques can take months of solid repetition before you feel comfortable taking them out on the pitch.

Building that confidence isn’t easy. The best way to mastering new skills – and therefore improving as a player – is through relentless practice.

5. Train as an individual

As a player of a team sport such as football, rugby or hockey, the focus is often squared solely around the team. It can be hard as an individual to find the time to work on your specific needs, particularly in a one-on-one scenario with your coach.

How to get better in sports
Taking the time to work on your game as an individual can go a huge way to getting those improvements you’ve been striving for. It can help you focus on your individual needs, and gives you the time and space to master a skill that you might not be afforded on the team training pitch.

6. Build confidence

Confidence in sport is defined as having the tenacity to execute new skills out in the pressure cooker of a match scenario.

Building confidence is a major part of any coach’s remit, but you can still put yourself into the best possible place to have confidence on the pitch. And again, it’s all down to practice. The harder you practice your new skills, the more chance you’ll have of pulling it off in a game situation.

Over-confidence in a game situation can be damaging. If you work on a skill and fail to pull it off, you may never get the required confidence to try it again. Make sure you’ve got it nailed down before you pull it out in a game situation.

7. Take preparation seriously

Even when your off-season strength and conditioning programme comes to an end, careful consideration needs to be taken to keep your body in peak condition to aid your improvement as a player.

Preparation for upcoming games should work in a 3-4 day cycle prior to your next game. This includes eating and drinking the right foods in 4-5 small meals per day and engaging in activity that isn’t quite as strenuous as high-intensity pre-season training.

How to get better in sports
Even on match day, you can make up that extra 2-3% by preparing your body as thoroughly as possibly by eating the right meal and undertaking a light physical exercise on the morning of the match.

A healthy body gives you a greater chance of optimal performance on the pitch, whilst again reducing the chance of injury to keep you out there for longer.

8. Understand the game better

Thanks to the progression of elite levels of sport, you can really go deep into the tactical and strategic levels of your chosen pass time. Video analysis of the pros, coaching advice and even philosophical musings of how to be a success in sport are all widely available to those who seek to enhance their understanding.

On the pitch, it pays to know the finer workings of your sport. It will enhance the understanding of your role on the pitch and how it contributes to the success of those around you.

Without a knowledge of sport, you can’t fully appreciate how you as an individual can grow within it.

9. Get some expert advice

To further enhance your understanding of the how the very best succeed in sport, watch them. Consuming sporting content on your TV or online is easy, and can help you learn how the very best do it.

When doing this, don’t limit yourself to the sport you participant in. In all sports, there are winners that dedicate their lives to being the best. Many of them adopt the same attitude and determination to achieving sporting greatness – and you could do a lot worse than taking a leaf out of their book.

You don’t even have to go too far to get into the minds of the very best. We have a superb video coaching resource, the Pitchero Coach Academy that draws on some of the greatest minds in football, rugby and cricket.

How to get better in sports

Do You Need Help With Your Mental Game?

This is a very important question because sport performance is largely mental. Every component of practice, rehab from injury, and competitive performance is strongly impacted by your mental game.

10 ways to improve your mental game include:

  1. Pushing past the discomfort of a hard training session.
  2. Maintaining a positive attitude when you experience a rough patch during your season.
  3. Ignoring distractions and keeping your focus during grueling competitions.
  4. Sustaining motivation throughout a long season.
  5. Bouncing back after a mistake in competition.
  6. Rehabbing from injury and readying yourself for your return to competition.
  7. Managing your competitive emotions especially when playing in hostile environments or playing against opponents who try to taunt you.
  8. Being confident when your performance is not up to par.
  9. Overcoming comfort zones in sports and breaking out.
  10. Coping with high expectations from others to perform well.

Keep in mind, this list is just scratching the surface. Everything you do, from the car ride to practice until you sleep and everything in between is affected by your mental game.

With all that going on mentally, you need someone in your corner to help develop your mental game.

Just as a nutritionist advises how to fuel your body, a mental game coach can help you navigate the mental hazards and proactively develop a strong mental game that gives you an advantage over the competition.

You don’t have to go at it alone, nor should you, with learning effective mental game strategies.

Butler University football team has brought in a sport psychologist to coach the team in regards to the mental aspects of the game.

Joey Lindstrom, Butler’s red-shirt freshman quarterback, knows he needs to train his mind, as well as his body, if he is to play at his peak.

LINDSTROM: “I wanted to see how I could get better mentally. Sports are 90 percent mental, the four inches between your ears is the biggest part of your game. I wanted a way to get internally focused with myself so I could become a better athlete.”

Butler red-shirt junior quarterback, Will Marty, echoed the importance of training the mind.

MARTY: “I think it’s more important to be mentally ready than physically ready. I had an old coach who used to say ‘competence breeds confidence’ so as long as I’m making sure that everything I do mentally is correct then it’s going to translate onto the field.”

We have programs for every age and every sport to help you improve your mental game. And you have two options:

  1. Start with a mental training audio or workbook program.
  2. Engage in one-on-one personal mental game coaching.

How to Improve Your Mental Game:

Step 1: Download the one-page mental game test to assess your strengths and weaknesses…

Step 2: Visit mental training library to see if we have a program for your sport or check out The Confident Athlete series.

Step 3: Contact us for the mental coaching programs to explore the options for personal mental coaching.

Imagine how much better you could train… How much better you could perform… And much more fun you would have competing if you had a strong mental game.

Boost Your Self-Confidence And Focus With Expert Mental Game Coaching!

If you’re a top performer during practice but find yourself under-performing in competition, the most likely culprit holding you back is your mental game.

Master mental game coach Dr. Patrick Cohn can help you overcome your mental game issues with one-on-one personal mental game coaching.

You can work with Dr. Patrick Cohn himself in Orlando, Florida or via Skype, FaceTime, or telephone. Call us toll free at 888-742-7225 or contact us for more information about the different coaching programs we offer!

What are our mental game coaching students, parents and coaches saying?

“I felt the time spent in your seminar was very well organized. The topics were great and you had the coaches communicating in an open atmosphere. Thanks again for your time and effort and I look forward to talking with you in the future.”

Coach Dave Wannstedt, Miami Dolphins

“ website is so exciting. I researched them all and without a doubt your mental training site is the best! The vast amount of programs you provide helps athletes and coaches achieve higher levels of excellence in sports.”

Doug Bolander, Hockey Coach

“I am a Brazilian coach in Tempe, AZ. I am the vice-president of the Arizona State Brazillian Jiujitsue Federation, long story short, I would like to say that you have a great program; you have been able to help me and my competitors. My fiancee, Kristina Barlaan, who just won two medals at the 2012 World Championship has also mentioned your program as a big help.”

Gustavo Dantas, Coach

“After going through a week of practice using your pre-kick routine, I was perfect on three field goals on a muddy field and a windy day in my final college game. Now I am entertaining the idea of trying to enter the professional ranks. Thank you for your help!”

How to get better in sports

It’s really important for athletes to be able to concentrate and stay focused in sports. When athletes concentrate, they become totally involved in what they’re doling and feel as if time has stopped.

They don’t care about what’s happening around them, and they aren’t easily distracted. They’re totally tuned in to what they’re doing. This feeling is called being “on” or “in the zone”.

Focus is one of the most important mental skills in sports.

Kids who have a hard time focusing, are easily distracted by doubts, negative thoughts, mistakes or other factors like parents and coaches yelling during a game.

Most athletes lose focus or space out during competition. It’s important to understand that although you can improve your concentration, it’s impossible to be on all the time.

Here are three tips kids can use to improve their focus.

Identify the Cues That Are Relevant to Your Sport

In a basketball game, a player should focus on getting open for his teammates and moving his feet on defense, rather than paying attention to his parents in the stands.

What’s important for you to focus on in your sport?

Recognize When and Why You Lose Focus

Think about your past performances, how and when did you get distracted? When you heard a parent or coach yelling? When the other team scored? After making a mistake?

Make a list of your most common distractions.

Create a Strategy to Help You Refocus

This is the most important step in dealing with distractions. Once you have identified the triggers that cause you to lose focus, you can figure out what helps you forget distractions and get back on task.

We recommend using a statement or mantra to help you regain your focus, such as “that’s not important, get open for the ball” or “let it go, focus on the next play”.

Practice is the best time to work on focus and concentration. You may need to modify your approach before you put it into action in a game.

Every athlete has the power to concentrate in his or her sport. A big part of getting into the zone is learning how to ignore distractions and focus on the right things.

You can apply focus skills to improve your confidence and composure. Some of the best athletes in the world say that focus is the single most important mental skill an athlete can possess.

Learning any new skill takes time. It doesn’t matter if you’re learning a physical skill or a mental one; you need to practice in order to improve.

Find a sports camp to improve your game.

How to get better in sports

Soccer is a popular game with massive fans. Due to a large number of people the following soccer, almost all bookmarks have soccer options. Again, there are many soccer tournaments, so you can never miss a game to wager on. It would aid if you also kept in mind that it is not a guarantee to win. Furthermore, you will need to be consistent in playing to increase your chances of winning. Also, make a habit of playing a different version of soccer; for instance, you can alternate from virtual to live games to increase your chances of getting a payout. Here are amazing tips on getting better at sports betting:

Keep Records

To increase your chances of winning, you need to analyze the team’s performance history. The history will help you understand the expected outcome based on the team’s previous experience. Keeping the record will save you time, as all you need to do is refer to your previous analysis before placing a bet. You can keep records of;

  • Profits and losses you have made
  • Both won and lost bets
  • The websites you used to place your bets
  • The amount you wager on your bets

The records will help you understand if your strategy is working or not.

Use a Variety Website

There are so many betting sites when you want to bet on football. Those sites have got different features and advantages. It also helps if you take advantage of promotions on the betting sites. After opening accounts with different bookmarks, You can alternate betting on the sites. Again, you can look for promotions and bonuses on different sites and capitalize on them when playing. Remember, the odds also differ in the websites, so, before placing your bet, it helps if you compare the odds and only place your bets in sites with the best odds. Some sites also have incentives like they show you jadwal bola hari ini or even cash out, which you need to find. In addition, you need to confirm if the bookmark accepts punters from your geographical area, as you don’t want to miss your payout due to geographical restrictions.

Stay Impartial

Avoid betting with your heart; all the bets you place need to be guided by your analysis. Again, remember to stay in control of your analytical brain. It helps if you don’t place bets based on your emotions. Placing bets based on your emotions may lead to bad decisions hence loss of money. Betting on a team you support is not a good idea unless your football analysis indicates that they have higher chances of winning. Remember, emotions can cloud your judgment, causing you to lose money. If you feel your emotions are getting better, hold on betting and resume when you feel analytical.

Understand Football

Just like any other game, football has got rules and regulations. For you to make informed decisions, you need to understand soccer in and out. Take time to learn teams in and out. Master teams attacking and defending form, recent results, plus team’s selection and injuries. The details will help spot good bets and increase your chances of winning.

In sports betting, don’t expect to win all the time. Look at jadwal bola hari ini and decide if it suits you. If you sense you are on a losing spree, you can take a break and strategize before resuming gaming. Similarly, you can switch to other games like poker or martial arts for a break.

It was a sister act to remember at the US Open in New York.

How to get better in sports

How to combat anxiety (hint: it’s not deep breathing)

Serena Williams — on a quest to win the world’s four biggest tennis tournaments in a calendar year — versus her big sister Venus in a match Tuesday night that tested the stamina and emotions for both.

In the end, Serena Williams won in front of a huge crowd that included Oprah Winfrey and Donald Trump.

Raw talent and years of grueling training get players like the Williams sisters to the top, but they wouldn’t make it without one other crucial ingredient: mental toughness.

How do you keep your cool when the stakes are high? How do you stay positive when everything is going wrong? How do you face an intimidating opponent?

“Mental toughness is playing to the best of one’s ability in a pressure situation,” Joel Fish, director The Center for Sport Psychology in Philadelphia, told TODAY.

“In those moments, when the spotlight is really on you, the great players like Roger Federer or Serena Williams, are able to, in essence, give themselves the message, ‘Bring it on.’”

How to get better in sports

Sibling love: Serena Williams beats sister, Venus, in US Open

The same techniques elite athletes use can apply outside the tennis court and help you at critical moments in your life, said John Murray, a sports psychologist based in Palm Beach, Florida.

“There’s a tremendous lesson to be learned from sports,” Murray said. “(Mental toughness) is absolutely a skill you can acquire.”

Here are four tips to keep in mind:

1. Learn how to deal with negative thoughts

It’s natural to have thoughts that bring your down, Fish said. Some people try to block them out, but it may be more helpful to be honest and tell yourself: “I’m feeling negative, my confidence is wavering, that’s OK, I know what to do,” he noted.

One strategy is to take a deep breath and redirect that thought to a more positive one — a skill you can practice beforehand.

Fish once worked with an athlete who came up with the phrase, “Give me the courage to do the best I can do.” Each time she was feeling negative, she directed her thoughts to that more positive affirmation, Fish recalled.

It’s crucial to monitor your self-talk — that little voice in your head, Murray added.

“I like to view self-talk as equipment. In the same way you bring your shoes to the court, you have to bring your positive self-talk,” Murray said. “People catastrophize (a setback), magnify the negativity of what happened. The mantra they have in their brain is not useful. It brings them down… it’s a distraction.”

First, be more aware of what you’re saying to yourself. Visualize the most negative situation possible in your head and replace thoughts like “I’m terrible” or “I can’t win,” with phrases such as “I love this challenge,” Murray advised. The goal is to keep you positive and focused on what’s next.

2. Don’t linger on either overly positive or negative outcomes

You’ll sometimes see tennis players pump their fists in triumph after a great point, or angrily shout “Come on!” if they make a mistake.

For some people, letting out that emotion can help their game, both Fish and Murray said. The important thing is to then get ready for the next challenge.

“Athletes can have difficulty letting go of a mistake and then not be in the moment for the next point — they’re still thinking about that mistake,” Fish said. “When athletes do something really well… that can affect their focus (too.)”

Stop, focus and settle yourself for the next point.

3. Get a handle on your emotions

Hot tempers are as ubiquitous in tennis as strawberries and cream at Wimbledon. John McEnroe’s outbursts were legendary. Australian tennis player Nick Kyrgios was fined $10,000 last month for making a lewd remark during a match. Serena Williams was fined $82,500 for a tirade against a line judge at the 2009 U.S. Open.

It all adds up to a lot of fury. If anger starts to overtake you — inside or outside the stadium — there are lots of small strategies for the athlete and non-athlete to try, Murray advised. Stop and tie your shoe laces. Leave the room. Chew gum. Count to ten.

Murray’s goal for his clients is to train them to break the pattern of anger, so they act, rather than react.

“Be in control of your emotions rather than them controlling you,” Fisher added.

4. Visualize your performance beforehand

Imagery improves performance, so close your eyes and see yourself hitting the critical shots or achieving that big goal. By the time you start the game, you’ve already done it in your head many times, Murray said.

“It gives you an extra advantage. You still want to practice, but it’s kind of like the icing on the cake,” he added. “You’re ready like never before.”

This can also be an excellent technique for a non-sport challenge like a job interview, where you can think about how you want to act and what you want to say even before you step into the room.

How to get better in sports

By its very nature, gambling is a high-risk endeavour. Its entire premise is that the possibility of profit is offset by the danger of loss, and it is this heady game of chance that is so appealing to those who play it.

But if you think sports betting is solely a matter of luck, you’re going about it all wrong. In fact, there are many who have used the markets to their advantage, and it’s rarely only because fickle fortune has favoured them.

Rather, it’s because they’ve learned all they can about sports betting and applied this knowledge to increase their chances of winning. Want to follow in their footsteps and tip the scales too? Then, here are a few of the ways you can improve your play.

Know your sport inside out

How to get better in sports

Although sports betting offers you the chance to gamble on dozens of different markets, those who do well tend to stick with what they know. In order to accurately predict the outcome of a game, it helps to have a vast knowledge of the sport and those who are involved in it, so we recommend picking a particular area and learning as much as you possibly can about it. For example, it’s not just about which football team has won the most games in the past, but how strong their offence and defence are, and whether their run of good fortune has been down to luck or skill. In the same vein, that particular golfer might have been victorious in his last two majors, but how much experience does he really have on a links course? It’s these very specific details that will work in your favour when it comes to assessing the most likely in-game outcomes.

Teach yourself about probabilities

Understanding the sport you’ll be betting on is vital to doing well, but so too is understanding sports betting, and this means you need to know all about probabilities and how they work. There are plenty of ways to learn more, and you’ll find dozens of handy sources online simply by Googling. If you want to try something a little more out of the box, however, perhaps have a look at some of the casino games that turn on this concept, such as blackjack. Bonus Finder features a very handy Jackpot City casino review for those who would like to explore this option further and want a reputable place to play, and you’ll find that there lots of different variations of the game available if you wish to experiment.

Recognise that odds aren’t everything

How to get better in sports

Last but not least, we’d also urge you to remember this very important lesson: the favourite doesn’t always win. It might sound obvious, but an awful lot of punters struggle to bet in defiance of the price the bookies have given. Although we don’t recommend ignoring these odds completely, we do suggest making your own evaluations too, rather than simply relying on the information before you. This is because even the experts can get it wrong, as in the case of the Nadal/Fognini match at the Barcelona Open in 2016. Although the former was down as the heavy favourite, it was the latter who walked away victorious – a possibility that was far more likely than it seemed on the surface, given that Fognini had already beaten Nadal on clay just a few months earlier.

Isn’t it time to start improving your game? Try applying these three top tips today and see how it goes.

So, I mostly play NFL GPP's. I haven't really had the big week yet but I haven't many losses either. In all honesty, I've broke even thus far. Some of it is from redeeming myself a bit in Showdowns but still. It's not the worst thing to break even. I'm just hoping I can actually win big before the season ends. Each week that goes by brings us another step closer to season ending.

Anyways, my questions.

1.) I play the NFL 20 max tournaments. I only play around 3 QB's for my player pool for these contests. The biggest problem I have is narrowing down my RB's and WR's to the where I'm not rooting against my lineups. Another problem relating to this is cost. A lot of the players I like are in the high to mid range. It may not be possible to really make lineups unless I have some low cost options. I just don't want to let low cost influence my decisions and add players to my player pool I wouldn't play otherwise. The cheap guys usually never have the upside to help you take down a tournament. Ideally, I'd love to just play a balanced lineup of solid plays throughout the lineup, sans defense and TE.

2.) Stacking variations. Could I get away with just keeping it simple and stacking it like: QB + WR + opponent WR/RB? Double stacking can be viable too but it's just tough for me to figure out when it's really necessary. Plus, I don't know how to split it up in my lineups. For example, let's say I am doing 7 Mahomes lineups. How many of those would I want to double stack and how many would I want to single stack? Honestly, I might just single stack from now on to keep it simpler. Idk if that is viable but I only say that because I don't know how to vary up the different stacking options.

One of these days I'll understand things better but yeah, look forward to hearing others insights on this. My best lineup from this past week had 170 points. Just wasn't good enough and that was due to having Chiefs stacks and having plays like Darrell Williams in lineups too.