The Inner Game: Decision Making, Choking, Focus and Attention, Skill acquisition: All of that and more on this weeks episode of the On Coaching Podcast with Magness & Marcus. We have renowned sports psychologist Leonard Zaichkowsky and mental performance consultant Dan Peterson on to provide a deep dive on the cognitive demands of the sport. How packed with information is this one? I finished this conversation with 3 pages of notes to apply to my own coaching. Len and Dan recently released a phenomenal book, The Playmaker’s Advantage In our discussion we cover:

  • “Coaching is teaching…and I can’t stop teaching.” (5min)
  • Kids are not miniature adults and the importance of developing physical literacy in youth athletes (14min)
  • “If you want to teach Latin. You need to know two things. You need to know Latin and you need to know Johnny.” (16min)
  • The dangers of copying: Why we need to create situations instead of copying (21min)
  • The Decision Making Loop: Search–> Decide–> Execute
  • Why your practices should mimic the Dr. Seuss Guide to Learning- 50 words or less, combined, twisted, and repeated over in a myriad of ways. (28min)
  • The importance of attention and awareness in performance (34min)
  • Choking- what is it and why does it occur? (35min)
  • Decision Making under pressure? What we can learn from firefighters (40min)
  • The importance of building tacit knowledge to better decision making on the field (42min)
  • Should we break down our drills into their components or train the whole? Dr. Z gives the answer (44min)
  • Should runners associate or dissociate when racing? Learn from Dr.Z and two Boston marathon champions (46min)
  • “Don’t tell them everything you need to do.” The disease of overcoaching.
  • Sydney Crosby ran track and thinks kids should explore multiple sports and other lessons from the hockey superstar. (60min)
  • What did Len and Dan learn from NBA coach Brad Stevens? (62min)


Resources Mentioned on this weeks episode:

The Playmaker’s Advantage by Dan and Len

80 Percent Mental– Dan and Len’s website on mental performance

The Perception-Action Podcast

Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahnemann

Sources of Power: How People Make Decisions by Gary Klein

Sporting Excellence: What Makes a Champion by David Hemery-1968 Olympic Champion in the 400m Hurdles

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Episode 79: Mastering the Mental Game: An interview with Len Zaichkowsky and Dan Peterson
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