Anxiety in Youth Sports
Nearly 20% of the population suffers from anxiety, and young athletes are no exception. In fact, kids who have mild anxiety might experience high anxiety in stressful sports situations.
Parents and coaches, you can help identify when sports kids are suffering from anxiety- and determine how to help them.
We recently interviewed Dr. Jeremy Pettit, Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology in the Center for Children and Families at Florida International University, an anxiety expert.
How do you identify kids with anxiety that affects their sports performance?
Kids who are suddenly reluctant to play, who used to enjoy sports but don’t anymore, or who complain of headaches and stomachaches might be suffering from anxiety. Some kids may simply say that they get scared playing sports; they don’t like it, says Pettit.
If you think a sports child is suffering from anxiety, there’s a fine balance between showing empathy and encouraging the child to keep playing, says Pettit.
You shouldn’t be dismissive; listen to the child and show that you understand. On the other hand, you should encourage the child to learn coping skills and keep playing.
Tell the kids that taking a few deep breaths will help calm them. Tell them that it’s not a good idea to escape the scary situation. It’s better to try to push themselves through it and come out knowing they succeeded.
“Avoidance maintains anxiety,” he says. “Tell the child, ‘I know this is tough but I know you can do it’,” Pettit advises.
However, at times, the parents need to seek help for children with anxiety. That’s true if the child is truly impaired by the anxiety- if he or she has major meltdowns on the field, or if he or she wants to quit sports due to anxiety. In that case, it’s important to find a psychologist, he says.
Want to learn more about how to help kids excel in sports and overcome mental game barriers?
What’s more, we’ve got more interviews, ebooks, Question-And-Answers, and other expert advice!
What do people say about our resources?
“I especially like the mental game videos that my son can watch alone or we can watch together. The videos help to reinforce all the concepts we have learned together. I think the pre-game stuff is cool and the lessons on confidence, coping with doubt, and trust are worth there weight in gold.”
~Dr. Adam Glantzman
Help your sports kids enjoy sports and excel!
P.S. Exclusive members should be sure to listen to our interview about kids and anxiety in sports. You’ll learn lots! Kids’ Sports Psychology Network
Help Young Athletes Boost Confidence in Sports!
Do your young athletes:
- Criticize themselves often after making mistakes?
- Freeze up and look scared when faced with competitive pressure?
- Lose confidence after working with a negative coach?
- Perform like stars in practice but freeze up or play tentatively during games or competitions?
If so, check out The Ultimate Sports Parent!
The Ultimate Sports Parent will teach you powerful mental toughness secrets to improve your child’s success in sports.
Get proven strategies form leading youth sports experts!
What are sports parents saying?
“Performed without Fear and Focus on the Process”
“The Ultimate Sports Parent Workbook Program totally changed our families approach to sports and I am so very grateful. My boys 7 and 10 are able to deal better with negative coaches, perform without fear, and focus way less results and focus better the process. One boy was amazingly able to regain composure and end the season with a positive attitude. I am on your web site all the time and am currently beginning The Confident Athlete series.”
~Sarah Bateman, Sports Parent
“Maintained Total Composure!”
“We have purchased all of your CD’s, my child has gone through The Focused, Confident, Composed, and Fearless Athlete Programs. And I just listened to the Ultimate Sports Parent CD. I can’t tell you enough how helpful these have been. My child just played in a major competition and he maintained total composure, fought in competition mode not training mode, was totally confident. THANK YOU! I really believe that God lead me to your web site.”
Help Your Young Athletes Let Go of Mistakes and Cope With Frustration!
Do your sports kid shut down or act like the Incredible Hulk after they make just one mistake that no one notices?
Are you fed up with your young athletes’ self-destructive behavior?
Check out: The Composed Sports Kid
The Composed Sports Kid system is 2 programs in one.
- 1 program to train parents and coaches how to help their kids practice composure
- 1 program that teaches young athletes (ages 8-12) how to improve composure, let go of mistakes quickly, have more self-acceptance and thus enjoy sports more!
What are parents and coaches saying?
“He Has Really Benefited From The Program”
“I recently purchased The Composed Sports Kid CD program for my son Jonathan who is 10. He is a skilled soccer player that was having issues with loss of control on occasion during games. He has really benefited from the program. He carries himself much better these days and even talks about his composure after the game to me before talking about the goals that he scores.”
~Dave, Sports Parent
“Treasure Trove of Practical, Insightful Information”
“Kids’ Sports Psychology is quite a find. It’s a treasure trove of practical, insightful information presented in an organized, simple format that is so easy to use. It is exactly what I was looking for to help my daughter succeed in competition, as much as she succeeds during practice. Additionally, these concepts can be applied to all areas of her life and, as her parent, I can’t stress enough how important it is to me, that she develop confidence, and how valuable this resource is to that end. Thank you so much!”