Staying Calm in Youth Sports
A recent LA Times story featured Marisa Berger, a 15-year-old high school student who takes part in the modern pentathlon, an Olympic sport during which she shoots guns, fences, swims, rides horses and runs–all in single day.
Her goal is to become “the complete athlete,” proficient in five distinct athletic skills.
How does she manage to stay in the game?
By honing her mental game, she says.
“You have to have the mental aspect for shooting. For running and swimming, you have to be an amazing aerobic athlete. Fencing is mental mixed with your reaction time and riding is graceful and be really calm,” she says in the article.
To be successful, most young athletes require a balance of physical talent and a strong mental game. These attributes along with a solid practice routine creates well-rounded athletes.
Shooting has become one of her favorite competitions, she says in the story.
“You have to be so still and so perfect each time,” Berger said. “I used to hate it. Now I’ve learned, through sports psychology, I can almost make myself fall asleep when I shoot because I know I have to calm myself down.”
Sports psychology isn’t just for teens taking part in Olympic sports.
Young athletes of all ages benefit by learning how to cope with pressure, understand their fears, stop worrying about what others think of them and improve their confidence.
If you’re a young athlete, a coach or a sports parent, tell us how sports psychology or mental training improved your or your athlete’s mental game.
Please post your comments in the box below!
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