Every athlete experiences rough spots or slumps that cause periods of under-performance.
Many times, young athletes get in trouble when they focus too much on their most recent disappointing results.
This trap is called being mentally “nearsighted.” They focus too much on their recent bad results or performance slump.
They tend to expect to be under-productive into the near future.
For example, a baseball player who struck out three times in her last game may expect to strike out several times in the next game.
Or a soccer player who played poorly during the first half of a game may also expect to make more mistakes in the second half.
Here’s the problem with negative expectations. If sports kids expect negative results, it will change the way they approach games. They may give up shots that they would typically take.
If kids expect negative results, they may not prepare the same way for the next game. They might play less aggressively. When this happens, they will under perform again.
Help kids break out of performance ruts by resetting mentally.
Kids might look at mental resets as similar to resetting their cell phones to improve the performance of their devices. A smartphone can become cluttered with unwanted apps and dangerous malware.
A reset to smartphones frees up storage space, eliminates potential threats and speeds up processing time.
Likewise, when young athletes reset mentally, it can clear their headspace, eliminate destructive thoughts and help speed up their decision-making in competitions. Resetting is like a mental timeout during which young athletes can refocus and recharge.
New York Jets quarterback and 2021 first-round pick Zach Wilson has struggled with basic throws during the 2022 season. Wilson’s lack of production resulted in the Jets benching him in Week 12.
The Jets’ head coach Robert Saleh said that Wilson needed a slight reset to get his play back on track.
“The biggest thing with Zach is the young man needs a reset. His decision-making has been fine, his practice habits have been fine,” Saleh said. “But there are some basic, fundamental things that have gotten really out of whack for him.”
“And this is just an opportunity for him to sit back, focus on those things, find a way to reconnect to all the different things that we fell in love with during the draft process.”
Resetting can help kids clear their mind, objectively evaluate their play and readjust their mindset to perform at their peak again.
Sometimes, kids need a hard reset and should take a few days off. Other times, a soft reset during a competition will be effective.
Kids can reset during a competition during a timeout or between plays. They should take a deep breath, use the cue word “reset,” and refocus their attention on the present.
They can also look at videos of when they were performing well and imagine themselves performing with the same confidence and focus in their next competition.
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