The Importance of Resiliency in Youth Sports
A sports parent asks, “My children seem to get easily stressed out when things go wrong while playing. Is there anything I can do about this?”
The issue your children are facing is common and can be challenging. They could benefit from some training that boosts their resilience.
Resilience is a must in sports.
It’s easy for kids to feel their confidence erode if they’re not very resilient. Feeling stressed out can be compounded by mistakes, making kids feel even more stressed. The negative effects can pile up.
Lack of resiliency will also take the fun out of sports for your children, which can hurt their love of sports and their confidence.
The benefits of resiliency are many. For example, when the game is on the line and someone needs to take a last-second, game-winning shot, the resilient will always step up. Resilient kids don’t fear the consequences of making mistakes.
Dr. Kate Lund, a psychologist, performance coach and author of “Bounce: Help Your Child Build Resilience and Thrive in School, Sports and Life,” says,
“Kids who face challenges and don’t move forward will always believe they cannot accomplish that task, but if we help to foster resilience and move forward we can overcome that obstacle. This process fosters a belief that it might be hard, but I can accomplish that! When this happens, that thought process and perspective moves with your children to the next challenge. Getting up and trying again is how we learn.”
“One challenge that hurts kids’ resilience is worrying about what others think,” says Lund.
To help kids overcome this issue, Lund asks kids to participate in role playing. They pretend they’re in a situation in which they might worry about what others think. This helps them “unravel” and better understand their feelings, she says.
In addition, you should help kids set achievable goals. If they struggle, encourage them to give it another try.
Encourage them to take risks and get back in the batter’s box after making mistakes. When they succeed, celebrate this success and set another, slightly higher goal.
Each time your children achieve another goal, they become more resilient.
Learn more about how to help kids become more mentally resilient by listening to our interview with Lund:
Young athletes, their parents and coaches tell us that sports kids often struggle with these pregame mental game challenges:
- They feel pressure to excel from expectations they feel from others
- They fail to take charge of their confidence before the compete
- They don’t trust in their skills when they go from practice to competition
- They focus too much on the outcome instead of the process
- They tighten up and play safe when they feel pressure to succeed
- They worry too much about what others think about their performance
- They hang on to mistakes and dwell in them in competition
- They interpret pregame jitters as harmful to their performance
“10 Minute Pregame Prep” will tell you everything you need to know about ensuring your sports kids avoid classic mental game pitfalls before a game, learn how to trust their instincts, and just go for it. It provides lots of advice for you, too…
Parents ask us:
“I am more nervous than my son before games. How do I as a parent stay calm and not show I am nervous before games?”
“My challenge is not to talk too much about the upcoming games or what they need to do. I want to psych him up and encourage him but don’t want him to feel that he has to perform perfectly.”
“How do I support my athlete without putting more pressure on him?”
With our program, you can stop wondering what to do and relax before your kids’ games!
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