How To Help Athletes Be Consistent With Their Training

Raise Your Inner Game Sports Academy
How To Help Athletes Be Consistent With Their Training

One of the things that makes it hard to have the impact you want as a coach is that a lot of the work you need your athletes to do to improve, they need to do on their own. Drills, training–a lot of it is self-directed work.

And the reality is, it is just hard to stay focused on self-directed work, for everyone, but especially for teenagers, and ESPECIALLY in today’s screen-addicted world.

So that's what this post is about. "How To Help Athletes Be Consistent With Their Training."

In it, I share a simple system I've used that makes a huge difference in helping people stay focused and on track with a self-directed program.

If this is an issue for your team, you should definitely check this one out.




  • The role of attention in a self-directed program
  • A simple strategy to help people stay focused and on track
  • “The Seven Essential Elements” to the program
  • Listen/read to get the full message

1) Sports Academy Coach Training now available with NEW pricing. If you would like to help your team boost their confidence, resilience, and mental focus, our Coach Training is perfect for you. CLICK HERE to learn more:

2) Check out our Facebook Page Click over and like the page to stay in the loop!

[ transcript ]

I was talking with a high school football coach the other day and he was saying how he had his players doing a Summer gym program, wanting them to do some strength training in the off-season, but he was having a hard time keeping them on track and focused on the work. And that’s sort of putting it politely.

I’m David Levin. Author of Raise Your Inner Game, founder of Raise Your Inner Game Sports Academy, and as I heard his story, I was reminded of a strategy I’ve used elsewhere to help people stay focused and on track with a self-directed program like what he was doing with his team.

It’s simple, it’s easy to do, and it is remarkably effective.

So I thought I would just lay that out here, what it is, how it works, and give you a simple plan for how to use it yourself, whether it’s to help your athletes stay focused and be consistent with their training or with any other self-directed program.

I call it a JumpStart Challenge because when I use it, the idea is to help coaches finish our Sports Academy Coach Training as quickly as possible so they can get on with helping their team boost their mental game. So JumpStart makes sense in that context. You’ll probably want to call it something else if you use it.

But the general idea is that, separate from whatever work you’re having them do, again with me it’s the coach training, with the football team, it was hitting the gym, separate from that, you ask them to make a daily post of some kind of what they did that day, and then you track everyone’s posts every day and post a record of who did it where everyone can see them.

So there’s the daily reporting on their part and the tracking and posting of their activity on your part. And to be clear, your posts are not about what they did in the program that day, they’re just about whether or not they posted. Okay? The JumpStart Challenge is just to make a daily post.

So, in my case, we work in a private forum, like a Facebook group. I ask people to post in the forum every day, here’s what I did today. Once a day I go through, I check who all posted for that day. I mark them down on a simple spreadsheet. I take a screenshot of that, and I post it in the forum with a short comment.

And there’s a link below to an example of that so you can see what my sheet looks like.

And of course, there are other ways you can do this, too. This is just how I do it.

And by the way, if their post for the day is “I didn’t do anything today” that’s still great. That’s the assignment. We’re not requiring them to do something every day in the project. That’s a separate subject. We’re just asking them to make a post. If they do that, they get a win for the day. And they get a mark on the tracking sheet.

That’s how it works.

And the idea is, this keeps their attention on the project. Attention is the key.

The problem with a self-directed program is that our attention slips and we lose our focus, and pretty soon we’ve forgotten all together.

But if you can keep their attention on it on a daily basis, they will keep moving forward. It’s almost like magic.

So that’s what the JumpStart Challenge is about, and I just can’t say enough about the difference these can make.

If you’d like to try one of these with your team, and I really suggest that you do, there are Seven Essential Elements you need to make it work in my experience. So I’ll quick go through these one at a time. And there’s a summary doc of these 7 Elements available on the same page as the sample tracking sheet. If you want to clock over there and grab that.

So here are the Seven Essential Elements:

1) It needs to have a time limit. You can’t do a challenge like for the whole season. Ours are 28 days, and that’s about as long as you can keep something like this going, in my experience. You can do multiple challenges, one at a time. But I believe you need to limit them to between one and four weeks. No longer than that.

2) The whole team needs to be on basically the same schedule. They should start and stop the Challenge at the same time. If you don’t have that, if people are all on their own schedule, the social accountability effect from the daily reporting and seeing what others are doing just doesn’t work.

3) Related to that, you need to post the daily results where everyone can see them. Otherwise, again, you don’t get the social accountability effect, which is one of the main drivers of why this works.

4) I think it works best to do this in some sort of private online forum, maybe a Facebook group or a Google classroom. That way everyone is being reminded and motivated by seeing each other’s posts. But you could just have them text or email you directly and then you mark their progress on a big banner in the locker room or something like that. Again, more than one way to do this. But having everyone see everyone’s posts is definitely a plus.

5) There needs to be some sort of end goal for the Challenge. With mine, it’s to finish the Coach Training course. With the Summer Gym, maybe it’s just to keep working for the whole time. But you need something everyone is working toward.

6) You want to make sure to CELEBRATE when they get there. And it doesn’t have to be a big thing. In mine, I just change the color of the cell for the day when they finish and give them a shout-out in my comments for that day.

You could certainly do more than that. But you don’t want to do less than that. Celebrating people’s success makes THEM feel good, of course. But it also motivates others to do the same.

One thing you might want to do, is to add extra milestones along the way. Like you could say, the person with the most daily posts after ten days, gets a free pizza. Or maybe the first person to increase their bench press by 30%. You know? It really can be almost anything. But the more motivation and celebration you add in, the better it will work.

7) And then the last thing I want to suggest is to keep it positive. Don’t shame kids or give them a hard time for not posting, especially in front of others. Just keep it positive. Remind them of the benefits of making progress. Encourage them and celebrate their efforts. If you need to push some kids to engage, do it in private. Okay? Just you and them. You want to keep your group comments as positive as possible.

And that is the JumpStart Challenge. Simple. Easy to do. And remarkably effective at keeping people focused and on track with a self-directed program.

Click the link here, as I mentioned, to get the sample spreadsheet so you can see how that works and the summary of the 7 Essential Elements, if that would be helpful.

And then you can just do this.
Think about your project, how long it will run.
Think about how to handle the posts, if you have a forum of some kind to use or how you want to do that.
How they’ll send you their daily post, how you’ll track and post the tracking sheet.

And then just let them know. Here’s what we’re doing. Here are the goals. Every day. Let me know what you did, even if it’s nothing. I’ll keep track and post your progress every day.

All right. I hope you find that helpful. I can tell you it makes all the difference with a group working on a self-directed program.

To hear about future posts when they come out, add your name to our announcement list. We’d love to have you join us. Also check out the podcast and our Facebook page. Otherwise, keep up the good work, and we will talk again soon.

Stay connected with news and updates!

Join our announcement list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.
Don't worry, your information will not be shared.

We hate SPAM, too. We will never sell your information, for any reason.

© David Levin / Day Eleven, inc.

GET CERTIFIED            BOOK A WORKSHOP            ABOUT US           CONTACT


© David Levin / Day Eleven, inc.