The Basketball Podcast: EP239 with Dan Abrahams on Sport Psychologist

RELEASE DATE : 26/10/2022

In this week’s coaching conversation, sport psychologist. consultant, author, blogger and podcaster Dan Abrahams joins the Basketball Podcast to share insights on psychology, coaching and skilled performance.

Dan Abrahams is a sport psychologist working alongside individuals, teams, coaches and organizations globally. He is known for his passion to de-mystify sport psychology and for creating simple to use performance techniques. He is the author of four best-selling sport psychology books and is the founder of both the Dan Abrahams Soccer Academy and The Sport Psych Show podcast. A former professional golfer and PGA qualified, Dan has a First Class Honors degree in Psychology and a Masters degree in Sport Psychology. He is registered with the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC), meaning he is an accredited psychologist and bound by the HCPC’s code of conduct which emphasizes confidentiality, evidence of professional development, safe practice, and standards of proficiency.

Dan Abrahams helps people of all ages and at all levels achieve their performance goals. Working predominantly in sport, and specializing in soccer and golf, Dan also helps people in areas as diverse as business, the performing arts, and the military. He does this by breaking down the complex theories of sport and performance psychology and helping his clients to easily implement them into their everyday lives. His interests and specialties are numerous including individual development, high-performance environments, performing under pressure, leadership, team building, skill acquisition, well-being, organizational culture, and coaching practice. Whatever your performance goals are, whether professional or recreational, at grassroots or the elite level, Dan can help you achieve them.

Listen Here:

Dan Abrahams Coach Quotes:

“Coaching works in servitude to three P’s: participation, progression and performance.”

“Whether you’re a coach of the best basketball players in the world or whether you’re a coach of 6, 7, 8-year olds, engagement is absolutely crucial . . we’ve got to engage attention prior to learning,”

“As a coach, you are an expert on certain things. But it also might be that you’re a facilitator of certain things, and you’re helping players collaborate, and you’re giving players autonomy to work on certain things and work certain things out.”

“Deliberate practice is tough for them. They require feedback . . they need some information as to how they’re doing. Don’t insist on perfection there. Give them that space to make mistakes.”

“We can break questioning down into convergent questioning and divergent questioning, Convergent questioning, in very simple terms, [is] asking a player a question, but we have a ready answer for that player. We want them to come towards us in terms of how we see the game. Divergent questioning will be a question that we can’t really answer as a coach because it very much cemented in the world of the player. What did you experience there? What did you see there? What did you see there that made you make that decision?”

“When we’ve taught somebody something, we probably want to check for understanding . . What we know from cognitive psychology is that players are going to forget things quite quickly.”

“We talk about working memory, long term memory and how working memory is a very small and fragile store. We want to shift information into long term memory . . we want to check for understanding so that players [are] encoding that information so they can remember that information.”

“I very much believe in this idea of working memory and long-term memory. We’ve really got to help players strive to remember things. If we’ve just taught players something, then we have to give players an opportunity for memory consolidation, to remember because we forget very quickly.”

“Isn’t it a great opportunity for yourself as a coach to go, ‘Hey, have some water here, guys, but what I want you to do is think about what you’ve just learned there, what two or three critical things you’ve just learned..’ or, ‘Hey, have some water here, chill out, have a physical rest, but grab a partner and tell that partner in 30 seconds, what you’ve just learned, what the key points are.’ What you’re doing is consolidating memories.”

“Those four R’s: retrieve, rehearse, reinforce, remember, [are] crucial. So, there are those pockets of moments – water breaks, between reps, between sets, maybe at the end of the session. Those are great times for retrieval, rehearsal, reinforcement, remembering.”

“Lots of us have a pessimism bias. We tend to treat positives with Teflon and the negatives tend to be quite sticky. So, I think it’s important to set up a situation where they [players] can, from a granular perspective, start to convince themselves daily of their own credibility.”

“As human beings, we have three tools in our portable psychology toolkit. Memory, imagination and perception. We need to engage in great memories every day . . that afford you the opportunity to . . remember your strengths, remember your best moments, remind yourself of your resources.”

“As a person, as a player, if I want to excel in any domain, I probably want to learn how to take charge of my feelings, emotions, thoughts, and attention . . And you can learn to take control of attitude, effort, and energy.”

“The best environment we could possibly have is when coaches have an internal locus of control . . they see themselves responsible for developing skill in a player, technically, tactically, physically, mentally, emotionally. And then we’ve got an environment where we’re so good at coaching, that we’ve helped upskill players so that players believe that they are in control of the technique, technical, tactical, physical, mental, emotional sides of the game . . We’re all responsible. We’re all in charge. We’re all in control. It’s a collaboration. That doesn’t mean the coaches might hierarchically sit slightly higher up, but there’s a collaboration there. There’s less of a threat. We’re working together. We’re holding each other accountable. We’re co-creating solutions. That doesn’t mean the coach isn’t an expert and providing expertise, but we’re co creating.”

Dan Abrahams Breakdown:

1:00 – Engagement
6:00 – Concept of Performance
11:30 – Scaffolding
16:00 – Variability
21:00 – Small Sided Games
24:00 – Player Led Development Time
26:00 – Feedback
30:00 – Asking Questions
32:00 – Value of Review Sections
37:00 – Retrival and Space Rehearsal
37:24 – 38:09 – Membership Sales Ads
46:00 – Memory Consolidation
53:00 – Retrieval Practice Rehearsal
55:00 – Persuade yourself
1:00:00 – Coach to Player Conversation
1:02:00 – Psychological Safety
1:08:00 – Conclusion

Dan Abrahams Links from the Podcast:

Dan Abrahams

Robert Bjork

Elizabeth Bjork

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