fit sets up Volleyball! The National Youth Sports Health and Safety Institute (NYSHSI) and Sanford fit have joined together to promote the importance of making healthy choices as well as proper body mechanics for young athletes. Follow along with our fitSports video series for coaches and parents which provide wellness tips and interactive drills for skill development and motivation!

Feelings and emotions put you in a mood. For example, feeling joyful or excited puts you in an “I will” mood, however feeling grouchy or frustrated can leave you in an “I won’t” mood. Young athletes experience a wide range of feelings and emotions throughout their athletic season. A win or personal accomplishment can have them shouting with excitement one day, while a tough loss or challenge can quickly cause them to say “I won’t”. What can you as parents and coaches do to motivate your players when they’re feeling down? The fit team spoke with Augustana University’s head Volleyball coach Jennnifer Jacobs, to learn how she inspires her athletes.

How influential is an athlete’s mood to having an enjoyable and successful season?
“When an athlete has control over their emotions and they choose to be positive, it tremendously helps the success a team or program can have. Positivity is contagious so players who are able to laugh at themselves, be serious in practice and matches but not take life so seriously is a blessing to have around. It keeps the gym light and helps build a team environment people want to be a part of. There are some cases, however, where players are not in control of their emotional output - in the cases of clinical diagnoses, etc., and it behooves coaches' to know about these special circumstances so we don't inadvertently punish or ostracize a player for not being in a positive mood all the time.”

Any season can feel like a roller-coaster, filled with highs and lows.  What signs do you look for to let you know your players might be feeling down? 
“We look at a number of different cues from our players...first thing I notice is anything out of what an ordinary mood that player is known to be like on any given day.  Here, it is important to recognize the difference between someone just having a tough/rough day, and/or other possible more serious mood affects. We check in with our players almost every 7-10 days off the court and talk about volleyball but we also ask about how they are doing in other aspects of their lives as well.  This way we can keep tabs on what is deemed "normal" behavior or mood for each player and what is deemed "abnormal" or out of their character."

How do you inspire your players to “motivate their mood” after challenges and adopt a positive mindset?
"Again here, assuming the player has a choice to be positive...we talk about how much more fun it is to be happy and how it generates more happiness.  People like and want to be around people who are having a good time and pleasant to be around.  That’s in life, not just on a team."

Your energy also greatly influences your mood.  When your schedule is packed with practice, travel and game days how do you and your players properly recharge?
"REST.  Rest is the single most imperative thing our player can do to ensure we are recharging correctly.  Of course, eat balanced meals, and being healthy mentally as well plays a role." 

What tips would you provide parents and coaches looking to inspire their young athletes?
"I would start by being honest, we don't shy away from the fact that everyone has bad days sometimes, and everyone has good days...but if you can bring your best self-everyday...good things will happen." 

In this edition of the Sanford fitSports video, we’ll see how a positive mindset, proper mechanics, and body movements are influential when setting. Think fit, be fit!
For additional information concerning Power Academies please visit Sanford SPORTS.