3 Reasons Why Young Athletes Resist Mental Training
One sports parent recently asked:
“How do I get my son to buy into the need for mental training? He is an extremely skilled player who lacks confidence but stubbornly is not open to mental training.”
Whether young athletes are skilled or unskilled, talented or less talented, they all can benefit from mental training. Yet, a number of obstacles prevent them from embracing it.
What does this mean for you as sports parents and coaches? Read on and you’ll learn how to boost your young athlete’s confidence and success.
First, the obstacles.
Here are just some of the reasons young athletes give for resisting mental training.
- Coaches and teammates will think they’re weak if they embrace mental training.
- If their coaches don’t use mental training, why should they?
- Performing well is about working hard, not about what goes on in athletes’ heads.
Let’s go over these issues one-by-one.
First, all great athletes have one thing in common:
They are interested in improving themselves—including their mental game. There’s nothing weak or wimpy about taking advantage of mental training.
Says Mia Hamm:
“The most important attribute a soccer player must have is mental toughness. Before you can win, you must have the will to prepare to win.”
What’s more, athletes who worry that they’ll be seen as wimpy should embrace mental training because they think too much about how others view them!
Many coaches—especially good ones—use mental training intuitively. If they don’t, they often don’t know much about sports psychology. After all, they haven’t received any instruction in it! It’s more than likely that coaches who learn about the benefits of mental training will use it with their teams. But you as parents may need to educate them.
Yes, hard work and dedication are critical to performing well. But athletes need to understand when and why they’re doing well. That’s where mental training comes in! What’s more, kids might play well in practice, but not during competitions. Again, sports psychology can help solve this—and many other—problems.
If you want to convince your young athletes to take advantage of mental training, you need to dispel these and other myths. Tell them they’re not broken or dysfunctional if they need mental training. You also need to explain the many benefits of mental training—how, for example, it helps kids boost confidence, improve their focus and improve their performance.
Want to learn more how to help kids embrace mental training, boost their confidence and ensure they make the most of their physical talent?
Visit Kids’ Sports Psychology
First of all, we’ve got an e-book about this topic called “Helping Young Athletes Embrace Mental Training.” It’s free to exclusive members of Kids’ Sports Psychology.
In addition, we offer loads of articles, videos, e-books and audios that will help improve your sports parenting skills and your kids’ success and happiness in sports.
Visit Kids’ Sports Psychology
P.S. If you’re already a Kids’ Sports Psychology member, you can download:
“Helping Young Athletes Embrace Mental Training” with this link:
Helping Young Athletes Embrace Mental Training
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