I believe strongly in affirmations as they are a part of the positive thought process that we need to inject into our team consciousness. I truly believe you can set yourself up for success by predetermining how you want an event to turn out. There are many ways you can incorporate this into the practice, one of my favorite ways was preparation for serving.
Early in the season the team and I would go over what is considered cardinal sins of serving. Once we identified our objective I would write it out on a white board and keep it in a volleyball cabinet. Then in the practice time we served we would start by meeting at the volleyball cabinet and saying our affirmations. The affirmations would be written in sentence form. All of them would start by saying, “I always serve in…” An example would be, “I always serve in on first serve,” or “I always serve in after a time out.” So what I would do as the coach is to read just the action and the team would say out loud the whole sentence. After everyone said the affirmations out loud the team would disperse to the courts to practice serving.
Remember to always pose it in a positive fashion so that their mind’s eye sees them doing it successfully. Encourage your team to have a half a dozen or more of their own affirmations with positive outcomes. You can adapt this to almost any part of the game and after they have done it hundreds of times it helps them to achieve a successful result. For you education majors remember Bloom’s Taxonomy and stating desired outcomes in the form of behavioral objectives that state “the student will….” It is kind of all the same thing, using positive thoughts for positive results. I like affirmations, the kids like affirmations and I think it helps. Have fun with it next season.