Using Mental Goals to Succeed at the Next Level
If sports kids want to get to the next level in their sports, they need to try something new.
Have you ever heard the expression, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you will always get what you’ve always got.”
Talent and persistence take kids only so far. They need to establish and focus on their mental goals to perform at the next level.
For some athletes, it’s easy to excel at first, often because they’re naturally stronger, faster, taller or larger.
But these kids didn’t need to work hard to achieve that success. And when they reach the next level, it’s difficult for them to adjust or rise to a new level of competition.
Young athletes need to be mentally prepared or moving forward may feel impossible.
College football player Calvin Avery is trying to understand how to get to the next level. A sophomore defensive tackle at the University of Illinois, he was recruited by many college programs. Avery was a large-bodied high school star athlete who relied on his size to dominant games.
But in college, he discovered, big, strong athletes are common. Avery needs to figure out how to separate himself from the pack. That hasn’t been easy.
He needs to understand that next-level performance requires just as much mental effort as it does physical effort.
“Coming out of high school it was harder for me. I was like, ‘Wow, I’m really not in [the starting lineup]. I’m not starting.’ In high school, I was the dominant player. They weren’t really trippin’ about [weight and conditioning]. I was getting to the ball, making plays and they didn’t think it was a factor. Now since I’m at a higher level, people are faster, things might be slower to me so they think it’s a factor towards it,” he said.
The Illinois staff told Avery he needed to lose weight, improve conditioning, focus on consistency and boost his work ethic.
These are physical goals, but in order to achieve them, athletes need mental goals and focus.
Illinois coach Lovie Smith said that it’s been tough for Avery to do what it takes to excel.
“There are some things [Avery] needs to do, and until he takes care of those things he cannot take the next step. It’s as simple as that,” said Smith.
Next level performance is not always about more intense training, more time on the practice field or more reps in the weight room.
Instead, it’s often about mental training, which helps all areas of performance, including physical training.
If kids aren’t concentrating on their mental games, achieving that next-level performance will be difficult.
Kids should establish some mental goals. Each week, they should set one mental goal for practice and training sessions. This goal can be pushing harder, persisting when they are tired or staying focused for longer periods of time.
To boost their mental game, kids need to focus well, possess stable confidence, trust in the skills they learned during practice, and work to stay composed.
Help your sports kids understand that if they want to get to the next level, they need to focus on their mental game.
Help Your Young Athletes Succeed
In The Ultimate Sports Parent 14-day CD program, you and your young athlete will learn how to cultivate confidence, focus, and composure in sports! Improve your sports parenting skills with this program.
It’s difficult for sports parents to watch their kids under-perform in sports and lose self-esteem due to fear, doubt and tentativeness. It’s hard to stand idle and watch.
The solutions are not obvious. However, you, as a parent, can learn how to respond to your athletes’ fears, doubts, and frustrations. You can develop happy, successful kids who are “mentally tough” in sports – and life!
A child or teen athlete may possess all the talent in the world. But if he can’t “get his head in the game” and realize his potential, his performance will suffer and he will be unhappy.
What are Parents and Coaches saying?
“The Ultimate Sports Parent program is well designed to help parents and athletes come to terms with developing well rounded student athletes. This workbook will help give athletes and parents the competitive edge.”
~Mike Maveus, athlete & youth sports coach
“I just listened to The Ultimate Sports Parent CD program on a drive back from North Carolina. Every parent should be required to listen to it! I thought it was great.” Thank you.”
~Rita, Sports Parent
“Dr. Patrick Cohn and Lisa Cohn are to be congratulated! Together, they offer a wealth of knowledge, information, and practical mental tools for sports parents on the substantial “mental game” challenges and pressures facing today’s young athletes.”
~Marc D. Anderson, LCSW, MGCP, Mental Game Coach