If you have ever played on a losing team and hated it, you probably just needed a coach trained in sport psychology. Caltech Coach Oliver Eslinger makes good use of his sport psychology doctorate from Boston University, says a recent article online at timesunion.com. Eslinger begin coaching at Caltech three years ago, taking on a basketball team with a “deeply embedded culture” of losing, with not one winning season since the year 1954.
“Last year we had 11 freshmen on the team, and we were 0-25, and we got absolutely hammered in conference,” says Eslinger in the article. “You gotta have good heads. Luckily, that’s where the psychology background comes into play. It’s tough to keep losing. That can get at you.”
This season, Caltech won a Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference game, marking the first time the team scored a conference victory in 26 seasons. Eslinger always tells his team to stay in the moment, which is helpful during so many defeats and a great feeling when you finally win.
This “in-the-moment” philosophy helps players put losses behind them. Eslinger admits that he is encouraging the team to reveal in this conference win for longer than a mere moment, and he is busy helping his team envision a fantastic future. “We are going to win the league,” Eslinger says in the article, “and we are going to win the league and go to the NCAA Tournament year after year.”