A Guide To Helping Young Athletes Before Game
The Importance of Mental Preparation For Young Athletes
As a coach, it can be difficult to resist the temptation of providing our children with the tips that you believe they need to remain on top of their game. It is only natural to want your children to play to the best of their abilities, remain focused and confident and have a great performance.
When it comes to providing tips and advice, we cannot seem to help ourselves, whether it’s warning a goalkeeper to be vocal when coming out for the ball or telling a point guards to dribble with their head up.
While these instructions are usually provided with the best intentions, they can often backfire. These types of instructions can even be counterproductive for kids.
There is a such thing as too much coaching and kids do not need to be bogged down with excessive details about what they should and shouldn’t do on the field or court.
Giving too many tips suggests that a young athlete does not have a strong idea of what they need to do and can rattle their confidence. Diminishing their sense of trust in their own abilities keeps them from remaining fully focused on the task at hand.
Intuition Plays a Crucial Role
An athlete needs to be able to trust in what they have learned at any age. A lack of trust in what they have learned will keep them from having the proper level of confidence.
Don’t make the mistake of assuming that your child needs to be coached up before the game, give them the tools that they need to remain in charge of their mental preparation.
If you’re doing too much coaching on game day, maybe your message isn’t getting across in practice well enough.
Allowing a young athlete to take charge of the mental preparation aspect of the pregame routine gives them a chance to become more proactive and fuel their own level of confidence.
Waiting for a parent, coach or teammate to give praise in order to feel confident is very counterproductive. Confidence does not develop overnight, it is the byproduct of months of practice. This is one of the most important principles to pass on to a young athlete.
There is no reason to over-coach. Your child has the experience and practice necessary to be successful. These experiences are what gives them a base level of confidence, confidence that you need to nurture by providing encouragement.
Your role is to provide them with the tools they need to reach a state of mental clarity and remain free of all distractions. Your job is to place them in a position where their mind is calm and relaxed.
We can all make a difference working together for our kids. Feel free to drop us a line at anytime 🙂
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Better People. Better Players.