Consider your athletes’ mental state when they enter the weight room. An athlete’s mental state is of utmost importance when it comes time to work. A strength training session is only 60 to 75 minutes long. It is by no means too much to ask for all-out effort for that amount of time.

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Collegiate athletes and even high-school athletes are essentially future professionals, and as professionals a certain attitude and demeanor is not only expected, but necessary. Did the best athletes in the world get to where they are by coming into training with an attitude, not paying attention, and quitting on their sets early? No. They got where they are by coming to training with focus and intensity, by sacrificing 60 hard and sometimes discomfort-filled minutes right now, in exchange for greatness. When an athlete comes in to train, they need to be walking through the doors with that kind of mentality, otherwise why are they there? If not it would be more valuable for them to leave until they find themselves in the proper mental state.

While cooperation from the athletes is necessary a good deal of their attitude is the responsibility of the performance staff. If the coaches cannot create a culture in which 100% attitude and effort is absolutely expected at all times, then poor performance is on them. This means there needs to be a demand for excellence. A positive culture which thrives on pushing and supporting one another to work harder is a must. That doesn’t happen on its own, but has to be developed by the performance coaches over time. So that there is no doubt in the athletes’ minds what is expected of them. A coach should, with conviction, be able to say, “We want you to embrace this, the workout, the training session, for your next 60 to 75 minutes. Work hard at something. Get in a mental state where you’re ready to leave everything else behind and give it your all. Be able to leave and say, ‘I could not have worked any harder.’”

Watch this quick video with Mason Baggett, a Football Strength Coach at the University of Maryland, on the importance of this topic in your program here.

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