Sports Kids And a Zone Focus
Sports kids often focus on the wrong things when they’re playing—the score, their last mistake, or worries about today’s homework assignment. This makes it harder for them to experience what we call a “zone focus.”
We want sports kids to achieve a “zone focus” because it helps boost their confidence, enjoyment and performance. To do this, they need to learn how to play “in the moment” and focus on what’s happening right now.
Adults can help kids learn how to focus on what will ultimately allow them to perform better. One way they can do this is by helping them develop a pre-game routine.
This is an important tool for helping kids leave their daily hassles behind and transition to the “athlete’s role.” It helps kids sharpen their focus and concentrate on their practice or performance.
A pre-game routine involves five steps. Kids need to:
- Park their distractions
- Shoot down doubts
- Set mini-goals
- Rehearse their performance
- Focus on execution
Today, let’s talk a little about parking distractions.
First, when creating a pre-game routine, kids need to identify common distractions that affect them when they’re practicing or performing.
Parents can be very helpful here.
What generally distracts your sports kids?
Do they worry about relationships with friends, dwell on mistakes or look forward to social events, for example. Help kids make a list of their common distractions.
Next, help young athletes understand what they can do to help leave these life hassles behind during performances.
The goal is to commit to practice or competition for the time being and not let these things bother them. Help them come up with phrases that allow them to overcome their distractions.
They might tell themselves, “I can’t change my bad grade and worrying about it will hurt my game.” Or, “I can’t control what my friend thinks of me, but I can control how I feel and focus.”
Again, the idea is to help kids identify what pulls them off task.
Understanding their common distractions will help them be more aware of them when they do come up. Then, they need to pull out their distraction-busting phrases to get the worries, fears or ideas out of their heads.
If you want to learn more about overcoming distractions, focusing on the right things, and creating pre-game routines, check out this video:
Video- How to Focus at Peak Levels Under Pressure
Let us know what you think!
- Do your kids have problems overcoming distractions?
- What are their common distractions?
- Do they have pre-game routines and are they helpful?
You can leave your comments on our youth sports psychology blog here:
We look forward to hearing what you have to share!
And we’re almost done with our new CD project, The Focused Sports Kid. We should have copies by the start of November.
P.S. We’re really interested in your stories. Please tell us your stories about kids’ distractions and give us tips that have worked for you here:
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
“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
Help Young Athletes Overcome Perfectionist Challenges in Sports!
Sports Parents’ Top Dilemma: Helping Young Athletes Kick Perfectionism And Fear of Failure will walk you through the problem and arm you with practical solutions.
The Sports Parents’ Top Dilemma is a two part program. It includes:
- A 23 page E-book that identifies the challenge, explains why it is harmful to young athletes and gives step-by-stop sports psychology tips for helping kids.
- A 21 page kids’ sports psychology workbook that is intended to help you kids identify beliefs and expectations that are the root of perfectionism.
Now you can learn how to help young athletes overcome the difficult cycle of perfectionism, fear of failure and loss of confidence!
What are parents saying?
“My wife and I immediately applied your tips and luckily we got a fast response. Our 16-year-old daughter reads like a case study for lack of confidence. She matches the profile your e-book describes: high technical ability and successful in soccer practice but looks like she forgets how to play in games!”
~Glenn G. New Jersey
“After listening to a couple of your podcasts and reading your “10 tips to confidence in youth sports,” most of the challenges you make note of apply to my 14-year-old son. He’s got all the physical ability, but the more mistakes he makes, the worse it seems to get. So reading and listening to your information has been so helpful and validates what I have observed in him for the past few months. Thank you so much!”
~Brenda Felder, Everett, WA