Decision making is a key aspect of sport – especially at the highest levels. At the collegiate and professional level, most of the athletes are pretty even as far as athleticism goes – strength, speed, stamina and other athletic traits are matched between competitive teams. At that point, awareness and decision making become the key to success on any athletic stage. Being able to make good decisions in high pressure situations is a skill all athletes require, whether they are gifted physically or not. When everyone on the playing field, court, arena, etc. has the same skill set, championships will be decided by who can make the better decisions, and execute those decisions, when the pressure is on.
Strength coaches need to recognize this and cater to it when conducting training and workouts in the weight room. Educating athletes on the importance of different movements and allowing them to decide some things when they are fatigued and uncomfortable is a key component to helping them succeed when they play their sport. At the highest level of sport, athletic development and skill is pretty similar across the board, and it becomes gametime IQ and high pressure decision making that is the difference between teams that win or lose consistently. Making athletes think on their feet when they are fatigued while making the correct decision under pressure will drive them to perform better in their sport.
Another aspect of decision making in sport, and one that is rarely properly taught or communicated to young athletes, is the concept that a conscious decision must be made to become great, and/or become a winning team. No matter how athletically gifted or situationally blessed a young athlete is, they have to decide for themselves at some point whether or not they are willing to become great. This goes hand in hand with deciding to step outside their comfort zone and risk failure. Without these risks, greatness cannot be achieved and they will likely never truly appreciate what it takes to be champions. Similarly, by helping athletes step outside their comfort zone and get used to being uncomfortable, they can learn to rally as a team and push each other to become great, helpign them achieve far more than they ever could as an individual.
Listen to Patrick Estes talk about decision making opportunities he gives his athletes in the weight room on the video below.
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