How to Reduce Pressure in Youth Sports
Have you ever heard your sports kids say, “Sports is my whole life,” or “I live for basketball,” or “Eat. Sleep, Play soccer.”
Many athletes wrap their self-worth around sports. They surround themselves with like-minded teammates who are their main source of social interaction.
This means that these kids’ lives are consumed by their sport. This can be dangerous. When they’re overly wrapped up in sports, injuries can undermine their self-esteem. Bad performances can feel like total failure and hurt their self-worth.
What’s more, they’re afraid they may fail to live up to others’ expectations. They worry about losing friends because they advance faster than others.
Help your young athletes understand that it’s important for them to pursue a balanced, well rounded life. That means that when they’re training, they should give 100 percent. But when they’ve finished practicing, competing, or kicking a ball around outside, they should leave their sport behind as much as possible.
If kids can focus on more balance, they’ll feel less pressure when competing and will improve their performance. Finding balance may mean pursuing art, music or reading. It may mean taking a break from sports.
Here’s a helpful story about how one athlete improved her performance and reduced the pressure she was experiencing.
Mirinda Carfrae is a triathlete who competes in the Ironman. Ironman is an event that consists of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike leg and a 26.22-mile run. The
Ironman is both grueling and over seven hours long. The training is even more grueling and time-consuming. Many hours of dedicated training can be life-consuming.
In 2013, Carfrae set the Ironman World Championship course record and has seven podium finishes including winning the event three times. Despite her tremendous success, Carfrae hit a patch where she experienced a sense of staleness. Staleness is a term used to describe difficulty maintaining training regimens or maintaining motivation to pursue personal goals.
“Prior to having Isabelle, triathlon was my whole world. Early in my career I needed to win to pay the bills, I needed to win to eat. It can be a bit of a pressure cooker,” she said.
Carfrae’s attitude changed after the birth of her daughter. She took a significant break from competing.
“I have absolutely loved racing, but prior to having [my daughter] Izzy, it was just getting a bit stale. I took 2017 off. I think that was a welcome shift for me, just having a different outlook. The perspective just shifts. Everyone knows that triathlon is not the most important thing. But once you have a child, you are OK with everything. I don’t stress about the minor things,” she said.
Now Carfrae is competing again and performing at an elite level, but feeling less stress.
Helping Athletes Find Balance
Finding balance is critical. Help kids understand that they’re more than just athletes. With more balance and less pressure, kids are more likely to perform at their peak.
Remind young athletes that they compete for fun and the thrill of competition, not to please others. Sports should not define them.
Kids need to take a step back and look at who they are outside of sports. How do they describe themselves as people? How do others describe them? These questions help them take a look at their self concept.
Help kids feel comfortable with who they are. Help them find balance outside of sports. This will boost their self-esteem, even when they perform poorly.
Help Your Young Athletes Improve Focus In Sports!
Are your young athletes easily distracted by people shouting on the sidelines? Do they obsess over their mistakes? Do they worry about what people think of them?
These issues will cause their concentration and performance to suffer!
The Focused Sports Kid helps kids overcome distractions that can hurt their performance in sports.
This is a 7-day program for sports parents and kids to discover secrets to helping young athletes improve focus and concentration!
The Focused Sports Kid program is actually two programs: one for sports parents/coaches that provides mental game tips especially designed for parents and coaches, and for young athletes, ages 8 to 12, that will walk them through 7 simple lessons in mental focus in sports.
What are parents and coaches saying?
“I read your report and prepared a one-page summary for my team. I asked the team to attend a 10am training session on Saturday before the final on Sunday. (I told parents) they must obtain the one-page summary handout from me and ask a parent to read it to them until they understood what it meant…My boys succeeded! We beat a team that no one could beat during the year, that was coached by a former professional player that had sons of former Professional players in the team and as a result of believing in themselves, they won. In my humble opinion , I look beyond the game and hope the kids have learned a lesson in life that you really can do almost anything if you put your mind to it. We salute you and the wonderful work you do.”
~Anthony (Tony) Costa, coach
“The resources that you have available on your website have been wonderful. I am slowly learning [and hopefully] in time that a sound mental game may be more important then the actual physical part of the sport that your child plays. Yes you have to have the talent but the mental game is what sets apart as a very good athlete compared to an elite athlete. As a parent, you need to find the time to teach yourself and help your child understand the Psychology of sport. All the hard work on the ice/field could eventually pay off and not just in sport but in every day life. Thanks again.”
~Darren, Sports Dad
“We just completed the first ten tips, it has helped tremendously for (our daughter) and us. We’ve learned to keep our behavior and comments in check. She’s letting mistakes happen and not worrying about them, she’s now just moves on to the next play with the same attitude as before the mistakes. She’s playing more aggressively all game. Her coach even mentioned that whatever we are doing, keep doing because it’s working.”
~Scott, Sports Dad
Boost Your Self-Confidence With Expert Mental Game Coaching!
Expert mental game coach Dr. Patrick Cohn can help your sports kids overcome their sports mental game issues with personal coaching.
You can work with Dr. Cohn himself in Orlando, Florida or via Skype, FaceTime, or telephone. Call us toll free at 888-742-7225 or contact us for more information about the different coaching programs we offer!
What are our mental coaching students saying?
“Ashley wanted me to let you know that she placed very well at her competition this past weekend, thanks to you! She won the short, won the long, and had her personal best. She now looks at her competitions like ice shows and has fun. It is really nice to see her thoroughly enjoying the skate. She is very focused and very confident. We definitely attribute this to you.”
~Brenda Glassco, Skating Parent
“I want to thank you for the great work you are doing with Ty. He seems to be soaring with confidence right now. We are flying out to see him pitch next weekend. He threw well Friday night and is drawing a lot of interest from several Division 1 schools.”
~Randy Sullivan, Baseball Parent
“I wanted to say that your program was one of the contributing factors that has helped Michelle improve her hitting. Last week she had the most relaxed, confident games at bat ever! The mental exercises have started to make things click. The mental program is something she can practice in other facets of life. I am pleased that we decided to invest in your program, the results are showing.”
~Jim Ellis, Michelle’s father
“Dr. Cohn’s mental coaching has really helped our son Justin gain confidence in his riding and teach us how improve teamwork on and off the track.”
~Stephanie Starling, Justin’s Mother