WYC 153 – The Playmaker’s Advantage – Dr. Leonard Zaichkowsky talks How to Raise Your Mental Game to the Next Level

Leonard Zaichkowsky, PhD, a professor, researcher and consultant for almost four decades at Boston University, pioneered sport psychology by bringing cognitive neuroscience and sport performance together as an interdisciplinary science. His academic textbooks and research publications demonstrated the importance of an athlete’s remarkable brain in anticipating and acting on opportunities during competition.

He has consulted with teams in the NBA, NHL, NFL, MLB, Australian Rules Football, the Spanish men’s national soccer team, and Olympic sport organizations around the world. Len is a former president and a fellow of the Association for Applied Sport Psychology, a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, and currently section editor on psychology for the International Journal of Health & Sport Science. Recently, the American Psychological Association honored Len with the “Distinguished Service to the Profession” award.

Today, Len is a co-founder and senior consultant at 80 Percent Mental Consulting, advising coaches, teams and sports organizations on developing athlete cognition. After too many Boston winters, he and his wife now live in Fort Myers, Florida.

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Teaching Skills

Performing in pressure situations

  • Simulate pressure situations often in practice
  • Small area games where all the kids get more touches in tight areas under pressure
  • Encourage the better players to be your leaders and encourage the lesser talented players

Developing athletes

  • Kids need to be active physically (around the neighborhood, in the backyard) before diving into high-level competitive athletics
  • The best athletes are typically self-developed, not grown by private lessons at an early age

What makes a Playmaker?

  • Deliberate practice – It takes a motivated athlete who constantly is thinking about, playing the sport
  • Overspeed training – Go so fast that you fall down physically. For mental overspeed training – there is a neurotracker. Good website: gamesensesports.com

The one that got away

  • Len kicked a bag of oranges after a bad call and they went all over the court

Best stolen/borrowed idea

  • Tight area games
  • Overspeed training

The Playmakers Advantage

  • The brain and understanding the thinking process is so important to all areas of life
  • Buy The Playmakers Advantage on Amazon: Link

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