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Coaching's "T&T"

Coaches and athletes from South Iradel High School in Statesville, N.C., North Carolina got some advice from author and motivational speaker Tami Matheny. The writer of “The Confident Athlete” was invited by an assistant track coach at the school who read the book and used its lessons with her team.

An article from the Statesville Record & Landmark detailed some of Matheny’s messages to the group.

One thing she emphasized was the importance of treating athletes differently based on their needs as opposed to the needs of the coaches.

We’re all different,” said Matheny, who played tennis and basketball in high school and college. “We all respond differently. I needed to be yelled at to get me motivated,” while adding that other athlete respond better to praise or a softer touch.

She identified two things that all successful teams in major professional sports share—talking and touching. “It’s called T&T,” she said. “That seems so simple, but it works.” She went on to say that talking encourages teammates who are playing and engages those sitting on the bench.

She touted touching as a great motivator, citing eight-time NBA All-Star Steve Nash as sometime who motivated in this manner. She told the crowd that someone once tracked the number of high fives he gave to teammates during a game and counted more than 6,000.

When it came to athletes, she suggested they communicate with and rely on their teammates for help. She also said everyone had to prepared for every game, even those who aren’t expecting to see much playing time. She said she did an informal survey that found 92 percent of teams are successful if they engage the entire roster.

“You can say ‘coach didn’t give me a chance,’” she said, “but it’s your responsibility to be ready if and when you are called. If you’re not, you just proved [the coach] right.”

She also touched on the topic of her book, saying athletes should stay confident in their ability even though they are going to make mistakes from time to time. “Learn from it,” she said. “You can be a loser or a learner. I want the guy on every team that says ‘I’ve got this.’”

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