Beyond X’s and O’s

Scott Osborn ’94

October 19, 2017

Teaching the mechanics of a basketball free throw is one thing, but how do you teach an athlete how to make a free throw when the game is on the line? Looking to answer that question, Punahou welcomed sports performance consultant Dr. Mike Voight, who visited the School Oct. 4 – 5.

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Punahou coaches recognize that sports are more than just feats of physical prowess. Practices and competitions are often an extension of the classroom where students learn skills like leadership, resilience and teamwork. Voight has built a career specializing in these topics, and his visit to Punahou featured sessions with titles such as “Building Mental Toughness in Student Athletes,” “Building Better Teams and Culture” and “Enhancing Player Capacities for Excellence.”

“Mental toughness is a central component to being a successful student-athlete,” said Jimmy Bennet ’96, boys JV basketball coach. “It was insightful to hear from an expert in this field and learn from his experiences with the universities and teams he is associated with.”

In one session, a coach asked how a coach should deal with mistakes. “Talk through why mistakes happen, and try to reframe it,” answered Voight. “Mistakes are actually good because that is how we learn and it means that you are going for it.” He added, “It is great to strive for perfection, but don’t expect it.”

The final two sessions of Voight’s visit were in a crowded Thurston Classroom full of student-athletes eager to learn more about what it takes to get in the proper mindset for peak performance, such as simulating high pressure situations – like a hostile crowd.

“Dr. Voight’s strategies for managing stress and reducing anxiety in order to perform at a consistently high level were extremely beneficial for our student-athletes, coaches and co-curricular teachers alike,” said Academy Assistant Principal James Kakos.

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