About Ben Loeb

BEN LOEB teaches a sport psychology course at Rock Bridge High School in Columbia, Missouri, where he also coaches both the boys’ and girls’ tennis teams. The teams he has coached had won over one thousand dual meets, nineteen state championships, and forty Final Four appearances by the end of May 2019.

Before coaching at Rock Bridge High School, Ben coached at Hickman High School in Columbia. He also coached the women’s tennis team at the University of Missouri–Columbia while achieving an Educational Specialist degree from the College of Education.

In addition, he has coached in many United States Tennis Association sectional and national team events. Ben has applied sport psychology concepts with his teams for over thirty years. He has also received many coaching achievement honors, including awards from the United States Professional Tennis Association, the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame, the Kiwanis Club of Columbia, the Columbia Tribune, and the National Federation of High Schools at both the state and the sectional level.

Ben has developed a curriculum guide of readings and exercises for his sport psychology class. In 2011, he proposed the course to the Columbia Public School District, one of a growing number of school districts offering this type of course at the high-school level in the United States. In addition, Ben has attended many sport psychology/mental toughness workshops. Some of the more notable workshops have been two with Dr. James E. Loehr (Mental Toughness Training; Tennis University II), the Mental Toughness Certification Training Program through the Human Performance Institute (Lorenzo Beltrame), the Positive Coaching Workshop with Dr. Rick McGuire (University of Missouri), and two Prime Sport webinar series with Dr. Jim Taylor.

Finally, Ben has done extensive research to further his education in this field. He has attended many coaching conferences that have included sport psychology sessions. He has also presented at coaching conferences in Texas, Illinois, Missouri, and Nebraska. He is a member of the Association of Applied Sport Psychology (AASP) and of the American Psychological Association (APA) Division 47 Society for Sport, Exercise & Performance Psychology.

The author can be reached by email at ben@benloebcoaching.com

Philosophy on Player Mind-Set for Individual and Team Success

Competitive athletics on most high school teams and all college teams is designed for student-athletes who are interested in playing on a competitive team, not simply a recreational team. It is for students who are willing to make an honest effort on a consistent basis at practice and in matches. The expectation is for the student-athlete to strive for personal excellence and to help promote team excellence.

The athlete should diligently work on improving their physical skills but also work toward strengthening their mental and emotional skills. The physical skills vary from sport to sport. All teams spend a lot of time on developing these physical skills. Along with developing the physical skills, the athlete must have an awareness of cultivating attributes such as mental toughness, confidence, focus, and self-motivation. The athlete should also cultivate advancing their own emotional skills such as stress management skills and coping strategies during the demands of challenging competition.

Consequently, to develop a champion’s mindset, the practice phase should be done with the proper level of intensity to bring out the best in the athlete and in teammates as well. Practice intensity is a choice. Practice intensity should simulate game-day intensity. Game day intensity should replicate a competitive-orientation. This means a commitment to self-discipline and to personal responsibility.

The student-athlete should value the team concept, team decisions, and team needs. The team concept is that the individual matters within the team itself. Decisions that are made in the best interest of the group and in the best interest of team success could supersede the preference of some individual team members. The individual student-athlete might at times face the dilemma of team needs coming before their personal wants.

Each team member should follow the acronym of C.A.R.E. Team Expectations: Committed-Accountable-Respectful- Enthusiastic. At times team members may have to embrace team decisions that are in conflict with what they want. When this happens each team member can make the choice to (1) stay committed to the group; (2) be accountable for maintaining a positive attitude and be accountable for their performance results; (3) be respectful of coaches, teammates, and opponents; (4) be enthusiastic about their involvement on the team and for teammates’ success.

Coach’s Mission Statement: The Six-Point Plan

The mission of the coach is to provide the student-athlete with the opportunity for a positive sport experience and the opportunity to personally grow as an individual. The coach wants each individual to…

Improve in the Competitive Arena

Ways to Achieve

  • Develop practice plans that will enable the athlete to improve
  • Set up a practice environment that is conducive to foster improvement
  • Set up practices that include ample competition to simulate what is needed to excel on game-day

Accept Responsibility

Ways to Achieve

  • Set an expectation of team members to be on time
  • Team members are held accountable for their attitude and effort
  • Implement consequences when necessary

Manage Adversity

Ways to Achieve

  • Team members are expected to exhibit emotional control
  • Team members learn how to be resilient
  • Team members maintain a competitive will to excel

Develop a Proper Level of Self-Confidence & Self-Esteem

Ways to Achieve

  • Learn to take the risk to believe in your own abilities when the outcome is in doubt
  • Become comfortable with your own success
  • Put winning and losing in perspective when it comes to personal self-esteem

Communicate with Coaches, Teammates, and Opponents in a Positive & Respectful Manner

Ways to Achieve

  • Be coachable by listening openly without getting defensive
  • It’s a choice to have a cooperative and a competitive approach with teammates
  • Be respectful of opponents while also being respectful of yourself

Have Fun

Ways to Achieve

  • It is possible to compete all out in practice and on game day and still have fun.
  • Fun in a competitive environment and in a recreational environment are different
  • Striving together to achieve is fun.