change in mental toughness

The Difference Between Arriving & Starting Practice

Head coaches Jim Mora & Tom Coughlin have had success at the collegiate and NFL ranks respectively. They are also well known for their policies on meetings. Players arrive 15-minutes early for meetings, because the meetings actually start 10 minutes early.

Tom Coughlin has even fined players for showing up just 2 minutes early. These coaches stressed the importance of arriving at practice…

Head coach, Mike Lingenfelter, of the country’s best volleyball program, Munciana, bases his philosophy around starting practice instead.

Think about it, if it’s a bad start, then the next ten minutes are usually a coach getting upset, followed by another 10 minutes of having to re-start and re-focus. That’s 30 minutes! This coach stresses the importance of starting practice.

A simple way to instill trust, discipline, and excitement is to address the difference between arriving and starting.

Arriving to practice should involve an emotional and team-oriented approach. Dynamic stretching, warming-up, and bonding between the players and the coaches are all part of arriving both mentally and physically. The arrival period of practice is also the best time for a coach to re-connect with players and get a sense of “what’s going on.”

Arriving early and establishing that expectation helps tremendously with the starting of practice.

Next, how do you emphasis the starting practice. This is the time that you expect your team to be focused and dialed in. If the arrival has been taken care of, chances are the start will be effective as well. Once the start of practices becomes commonplace and energetic, the start of games, matches, and meets will also become more consistent.


Dr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology Coach. His company DRB & associates is based in Indianapolis.  Some clients have included: University of Notre Dame, Marriott, and Walgreens. Check out the most recent books on Mental Toughness-