Here’s an exercise that’s great to help your players see that everyone has fears, that being afraid or nervous about a big game is something that’s common. But, more importantly we’re able to acknowledge these fears and get rid of all of them.
- Get an old coffee can (3 gallon size), some matches, and a piece of paper and pen for everyone – coaches included.
- Hand everyone a piece of paper and pen and ask everyone to write down anything and everything they afraid of, or worried about surrounding the upcoming game, going to the playoffs, this season, whatever it seems everyone is probably afraid of.
- Tell everyone that nobody is going to read what they write, so be honest.
- You and your coaches do the same thing.
- When everyone’s finished have them fold their paper and one-at-a-time come up and put their answers in the can.
- Once all papers are inside the can, place the can in a safe place and toss a match into the can.
Wait a minute so that it really starts to burn – letting everyone see it burning. Then tell your team that’s it: Their fears are now gone – up in smoke. The ONLY way their fears can come back is if they continue to think about them and give them energy.
Looking for more exercises like The Fear Can, then check out our book A Coaches Guide to Creating Team Chemistry.