Mental Training In Sports Is Critical

Parents this is important!

I've worked with hundreds of kids on their mental game and can definitively tell you that something as simple as a choke or mistake can have a major negative impact on your athletes.

In fact, many adults end up needing help to clear their negative beliefs that got formed while playing sports in their youth.

Mental blocks can get implanted in our minds from seemingly routine occurrences during play: A teammate talking trash or gossiping A coach yelling A parent showing disappointment Getting cut from or not making a team Sitting the bench Getting frozen out of play by teammates A shouted comment by someone in the stands And many times from even a minor injury

Here's a typical scenario we hear often at the Mental Toughness Academy.

15-year-old basketball player, Joe was a real success throughout junior high and much of his high school years. He played with a reckless abandon and went all out every minute of the game. His parents loved watching him play, because they could see how he was really enjoying himself. Other parents often commented on how "fearless" Joe was and his coach loved his "hustle" and "heart."

Last season though, ended on an unexpected note when he missed what would have been the game-winning shot during the playoffs. Since then, he was a different kid and eventually ended up sitting on the bench most of the time as a backup.

His coach didn't know what to do besides tell him what had worked in the past, "train longer and show some more aggressiveness".

Joe's parents even sent him to basketball camp to see if that would help re-ignite the fire he had lost- It didn't. Joe and his parents were at a loss as to what to do.

This type of thing happens every day in youth sports. What parents and coaches vastly underestimate is how vulnerable teens and pre-teens minds are to such trauma from sports.

Joe had taken that one game very hard and internalized it into a destructive force that continued to live in his body like a virus wreaks havoc on a computer.

Plenty of kids seem to come out of their teen years and do just fine in the world on the surface. But teens are like icebergs -- only 10% show above water!

Very few parents are able to get past the surface talk they have with their kids -- to find out what's really going on inside. Even if their kid does open up, they still don't believe their parents can help them solve it.

On the surface, the young athlete seems to take it in stride and keep on going and yes, sometimes they can. On the other hand, far too often, the thoughts they form from these difficulties become permanent limiting beliefs like:

"I'm not good enough"

"I always screw up under pressure"

"I don't do well on the road"

"I get too nervous to perform"

So what can we, as parents do about it? How can we stop these beliefs from becoming part of their permanent programming?

The good news is that all of this is totally preventable and "mental toughness training" is the answer.

In our training, we start with helping athletes understand how their mind works, empower them to take hold of the controls and use them to turn around any negative thoughts.

Then we give them some quick, simple tools to stay focused on their well-planned goals. The tools help them with visualization, dealing with fear, staying motivated, and creating their own confidence to name a few.

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"The 10 Commandments For A Great Sports Parent" ebook

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