Many people feel having someone to teach psychological skills to an athlete means that the athlete is unstable, or has “mental problems” or is “totally mad.” There is a feeling among coaches and even some athletes is that psychologists are people who provide help to those who are disturbed or maladjusted. They would never consider that a “normal” athlete has the need of positive cognitive assistance of someone trained in psychology and specifically sport psychology. Further, many coaches want only tough minded athletes and they do not want what they think are “head cases.” Coaches have eliminated athletes who had all the necessary physical assets because they did not appear to be able to perform with any degree of consistency or because they “choked” under pressure. They have never stopped to ask if certain skills could be taught to these athletes which would enable them to use their physical abilities even more effectively.
A lot of us are used to some type of pseudo-aerobic exercise during the first part of the warm-up. This could be a 400-meter jog, riding the stationary bike for a few minutes, the rowing machine, etc. Instead, consider five minutes of jumping rope. The rope will increase heart rate, get blood moving throughout the body, warm the joints, burn calories and develop the foot speed/athletic qualities that we want. This is a great way to start the warm-up before moving to mobility drills, technique drills or light sets. I think this is especially appropriate before athletic practices; for example, five minutes of jumping rope before beginning basketball practice.