How to Set Standards of Excellence for Young Athletes 

How to Set Stands of Excellence for Young Athletes 

What Does “Setting the Standard” Mean in Youth Sports?

Setting a high standard refers to establishing a level of quality, expectation or performance.

Some teams set winning as the standard. Often, teams with a high expectation of winning adopt the credo, “Championship or Bust.”

While winning may be the goal, defining success in those narrow terms is problematic. First of all, when teams narrowly focus on wins, titles and championships, they increase competitive pressure to maintain the standard.

Under those conditions, some players become hyper-nervous and make more mistakes and bad decisions. Sometimes, setting an excessive winning standard leads to under performance and losses.

A better route is to establish is a standard of excellence. When young athletes commit to excellence, it’s more than just showing up at a game and trying to win.

When teams have a standard of excellence, players commit to preparing and working to win every moment in practices and competitions.

When teams set a standard of excellence, sports kids take pride in preparation.

They show up on time for practice and are mentally and physically ready to get to work.

They strive to be their best by challenging themselves and stepping outside their comfort zone.

Young athletes commit to continuously hone their mental, physical and technical skills to improve their overall performance and contribution to their team.

They try to continuously improve effort and focus…

When sports kids commit to excellence, they are willing to go the extra yard to maximize their potential. They hold themselves accountable for their attitude, words and actions.

Unlike the standard of excellence, a standard of winning is based on results, and athletes are not in total control of the outcome of a competition.

The standard of excellence, on the other hand,  is steeped in action. Focusing on excellence puts the onus on kids to maintain a high standard about their attitude, effort, focus and preparation.

Maintaining a standard of excellence is the secret weapon that gives kids an edge over their competition.

When young athletes take advantage of every opportunity to raise their game, they enter competitions with the utmost confidence in their ability to perform at a high level.

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts said that teammate wide receiver A.J. Brown has set a standard of excellence for himself and his team.

That standard of excellence is a guiding principle for each team member and sets the tone for how the team approaches practice and games.

“I know [Brown’s] a competitive person,” said Hurts. “He demands a lot out of himself, and that goes for anyone else in the locker room. Like I said, he has a standard for himself, and he’s not compromising that. He’s demanding that of himself, and he wants that out of his teammates, as well, and everyone around him.”

Setting a high standard is not about perfection but continuous growth and improvement. When sports kids establish a standard of excellence, they challenge themselves to be their best continually.

Setting a standard of excellence builds a competitive mindset, fosters peak performance and leads to greater personal and professional satisfaction and success.

First, kids should define what excellence means for them. Next, they should write a summary statement that outlines the standard for them in personal terms.

Finally, young athletes should post their standard of excellence statement in a visible place to remind themselves how to achieve athletic excellence.

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The Composed Sports Kid

“The Composed Sports Kid” audio and workbook digital download program for young athletes and their parents or coach helps kids cope with frustration and anger in sports. Help your sports kids learn how to manage expectations and let go of mistakes so they can keep their head in the game. 

The Composed Sports Kid system is really two programs in one–one program to train parents and coaches how to help their kids practice composure, and one program that teaches young athletes–ages 6 to 13–how to improve composure, let go of mistakes quickly, have more self-acceptance, and thus enjoy sports more

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