They say things like, “He’s really talented, but he stops trying after he makes mistakes. He needs to feel more secure.”
Or: “Whenever the coach gives my daughter any kind of feedback, she freezes up. She needs to have a different coach.”
Or: “When her friends are watching her games, my daughter plays badly. Her friends shouldn’t come to her games.”
The situations above describe common distractions that hurt kids’ performance. The truth is, many of these challenges boil down to one thing: focus…
When kids learn to be aware of what distracts them and focus better in sports, they excel.
The boy who makes mistakes and feels insecure is dwelling on his mistakes.
One solution: He should learn to stop dwelling on his mistakes–the past–and focus on the tasks that will help him perform better right now.
The girl who freezes up when her coach gives her feedback is also dwelling on the negative–any criticism her coach gives her.
She needs to focus less on her coach’s negative comments, and more on her positive attributes (which the coach likely points out, in addition to ways to improve).
One thing to keep in mind: Kids make their own decisions about what to focus on—and they can teach themselves how to change their focus!
The girl who plays badly when her friends are around gets distracted by the presence of her friends.
She needs to learn to ignore them and focus on what’s right in front of her—the ball, her opponent, her next move.
So, before you assume that you should ban your players’ friends from the sidelines, find a new coach, or boost your kids’ security levels, think about focus.
What are they focusing on that’s distracting them?
And remember, one of the keys to performing well is learning how to focus on the here-and-now, to stay in the present moment. It’s not always so easy.
Want to learn more about helping your kids identify distractions and discover what they should be focusing on to perform their best?
Want to learn our secrets to helping kids boost their performance by focusing on the moment–rather than on the score, their friends, or the barking dog?
Learn all our mental strategies for improving focus with “The Focused Sports Kid”:
You’ll learn about just how important it is for kids to hone their focusing skills—and how you can help them do it!
What are folks saying about our resources? Just this week we received this note about our blog:
“Thank you for your personal precious time in producing this web site.”
~Brianna, a sports mom.
Help your kids learn to focus on what’s important, boost their confidence and improve their performance!
Lisa Cohn and Patrick Cohn, Ph.D.
p.s. The Focused Sports Kid CD program gives step-by-step instructions about how kids can improve their focus and cope with distractions. On this page, you can download a simple sports focusing test for you kids to complete: