Helping Young Athletes Sort Through Their Emotions Before Competing
Parents who wish to help young athletes reach their full potential can ask their children about the emotions they are feeling before a game or match and teach them how to set them off to the side until after the game has concluded.
Helping an athlete to understand their own emotions also helps them to understand the effect their emotions can have on their ability to maintain composure during a game.
That’s why it is important to ask your young athlete how they are feeling prior to a game, but you do not want to tell them about their own feelings.
An attentive parent should not tell their child how to feel before a game, but they can offer a few suggestions to help them sort out their feelings. Perhaps the child is feeling excited or maybe they are anxious. They may have some jitters or they may be totally calm.
Once you’ve provided them with a few different possibilities, it is time for you to take a step back and concede the floor to them. Give them room to think out loud and process their emotions. Your job at this time is to show them you are listening to everything they have to say and serve as a helpful sounding board.
If your child says they feel a sense of nervousness that diminishes as the game goes on, this is a good quality for a young athlete to have. The butterflies that an athlete feels before a match or game allow them to play with a greater level of intensity and a higher amount of focus.
However, if a child tells you that they are feeling an extreme sense of worry about their upcoming game or that they are afraid to make any mistakes, it is your job as a parent to help them address these concerns.
Being afraid to fail is all too common for young athletes, as they are scared about disappointing coaches and family members. You’ll need to help your child realize these fears are not rooted in reality, while refusing to minimize the emotions they are feeling.
Ask your child what they feel the worst case scenario may be if they happen to play poorly. Once they’ve expressed these fears, you’ll want to keep things light. Encourage them to laugh and joke around with buddies prior to game time and let them listen to some music to put themselves in the right head space.
Lastly, a child who is fighting feelings of anxiety before a game should be reminded of the importance of focusing on the process, as opposed to the result. By focusing on playing the best that they can instead of worrying about the final result, can greatly reduce anxiety and the youngster is able to function at peak capacity.
kids should be playing to get something more out of sport. Learning values, becoming better people, and having fun are so much more important. There’s so much more to sport than winning. Yes, we all know that winning makes you feel good and that losing stinks. But there’s a huge difference between winning the right way, versus winning the wrong way. There’s also a huge difference between losing the right way, versus losing the wrong way.
With Play Better rewarding kids or adults for something other than scoring goals will provide a new kind of win. As a result, players will leave the field with their heads up regardless of the scoreline. Ultimately this will keep players in sports at all levels, because it keeps things fun.
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Better People. Better Players.