Staying Focused in Youth Sports
Sports kids would benefit much more from sports if they were less distracted and had more fun.
That’s the word from Troy Drayton, coordinator of youth programs for the Miami Dolphins.
Drayton, who visits elementary and middle schools three days a week to teach about physical fitness and positive choices, says the biggest mental game challenge for kids is being distracted.
They’re often distracted by their friends, he says. He stresses the importance of helping kids learn to listen to what coaches and instructors are trying to tell them.
Here’s a Kids’ Sports Psychology, we agree that distractions are a big mental-game challenge.
We suggest that young athletes identify their top distractions and then take steps to overcome them. Before kids identify what distracts them, they often don’t realize they’re being distracted.
As for steps to overcome distractions, here’s an example:
If athletes are distracted because they worry what their friends will think of them, we tell them to banish such thoughts from their minds and focus on what they need to do right now to get the job done.
We also agree with Drayton’s second point: The importance of having fun in youth sports.
“It’s always a good to have a little fun,” he says. “We get a little silly at times. When we let our guard down, they can let their guard down, too.”
When sports isn’t fun, kids lose interest, he says.
Parents who pressure their young athletes and expect too much of them can ruin the fun, Drayton says. Too often, parents have a win-at-all costs attitude. They need to understand that fun is more important for sports kids.
Remember: More than 60% of kids drop out of sports by the time they are 13 because sports isn’t fun any more. Be sure to focus on fun!
If you’d like to listen to more great tips from Drayton and other youth sports experts, be sure to check out Kids’ Sports Psychology.
Exclusive members of Kids’ Sports Psychology have access to Drayton’s entire interview here:
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Here’s what people say about our resources:
“Kids’ Sports Psychology is…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!”
~Stephanie Dobbs, Sports Parent
Help your sports kids make the most of their sports experience with Kids’ Sports Psychology!
P.S. Troy Drayton of the Miami Dolphins offers some great insights into sports kids. Exclusive members can check out his interview here:
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