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4 Reasons Athletes Make Mistakes And How Coaches Can Help Correct Them

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This article by Roch King -- a PCA Trainer, long-time swimming coach and now Assistant Professor of Athletic Coaching Education at West Virginia University -- amplifies on PCA's advice on dealing with athletes' mistakes.

One of the most popular PCA tools is the "mistake ritual," a physical motion that coaches, players and even spectators can use to signal that they recognize a mistake made in the course of competitive action, and that they are now "flushing" the mistake or "brushing it off" with a physical gesture and moving on to the next action.

However, some mistakes that cannot be quickly corrected -- mistakes in preparation or a lack of conditioning -- bear further exploration when the time is right. One way to note those cases is by "parking" the mistake. This is analogous to parking a car when you do not need it to get somewhere, but you do want to remember where you parked the car so you can use it later.

Some physical gestures to indicate that you are "parking" the mistake are replicating the shifting of a car into park, or applying the parking brake. That can help you remember what to address with players during a more teachable moment than in the middle of a competition.

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