Do you know what kind of pressures young athletes face in sports?
As sports parents, it’s important to be tuned in to this issue. If your athletes are equestrians, for example, they likely feel pressure to perform up to their abilities.
Then there’s the added pressure of dealing with their horses’ ups and downs. Add to that the potential for danger-and you’ve got a pressure-cooker situation at times.
That’s what Missy Clark, head trainer and owner of North Run Show Stables, Warren, Vermont told us in a recent interview. She works with some of the top young riders in the country.
What distinguishes the top performers in high-pressure situations?
They understand the mental side of sports, Clark says. In fact, one of her most successful young athletes had a mind like a “sponge” for sports psychology, she says. “She wasn’t the most naturally talented rider, but she had an incredibly open mind about the mental aspect of sports.”
That’s true of kids in all sports. They face numerous pressures.
They may intimidate themselves by comparing themselves to their competitors. They may pressure themselves to perform better than their peers. They may feel pressure from coaches to improve their performance.
If sports kids can identify and learn how to cope with these pressures, they’ve got a tremendous advantage. They’re likely to be happier and more successful.
We know that your kids likely impose lots of pressure on themselves.
They don’t need any additional pressure from you. Be very careful about how you phrase your words of “support,” especially before a competition or game. Even if you say, before a game, “I hope you score three goals today,” you’re pressuring your athletes.
Do you want to learn more about how to boost your young athlete’s mental game? Check out our Ultimate Sports Parent workbook and CD program. You’ll learn how to:
- Motivate kids to do well in sports
- Help kids feel confident in athletics
- Help young athletes stop worrying about what everyone thinks
- Teach kids no one is perfect
- Guide children as they cope with frustration, anger and heartache in sports
- Deal with kids’ difficult or negative coaches
Learn all our tips for providing athletes with the right kind of support–before games and after defeats or mistakes. Check out our Ultimate Sports Parent workbook/CD program.
Patrick Cohn, Ph.D., Mental Training Expert
& Lisa Cohn, Youth Sports Parenting Author
P.S. For more ideas about how to encourage kids in sports, check out
our workbook/CD program – just for sports parents:
© 2007 The Ultimate Sports Parent by Peak Performance Sports