Focus on Small Objectives
It’s important for young athletes to establish goals in order to improve their training for the new year. Many young athletes have goals about the successes they’re aiming for in competition, but don’t have well-defined goals for training and practice.
Training is critical to success in competition; the best athletes train smart. That means they have well-defined goals for each practice session.
One way for kids to set better goals and improve focus is to establish goals specific to what they will face in competition.
Kids shouldn’t train for parts of their game that aren’t relevant to their performance. For example, focusing on what the other competitors are doing in their training is not relevant to kids’ practice.
Instead, kids need to set goals that help them focus on the processes needed for success in their sport. These are called mini-goals or process goals.
Process goals help young athletes hone their focus on the relevant tasks needed for success in competition. In training, kids need to work on a mindset that focuses on process goals.
Young athletes can set different process goals for different aspects of their sport. For example, swimmers should establish process goals for the start, turns, beginning, middle and end of a race. One process goal could be to improve reaction time for kids’ starts.
Young athletes should establish process goals as a priority during training sessions. Setting process goals during practice also helps kids boost their focus during practice and ultimately in competition.
Establish Mental Game Goals
Sports kids should also establish goals to improve their mental game. We know that if athletes’ minds are getting in the way of their performance, it doesn’t matter how much they work on the physical aspects of their game.
Establishing specific goals is not the only thing sports kids should work on in the new year. They can also boost their confidence by creating a sports success resume.
On this success resume they should list all the personality traits, strengths and experiences that make them great players and team members.
They might list mental game skills, such as the ability to communicate with others, or physical skills such as the ability to run fast. They might also include moments that boosted their confidence. For example, they might include the day they scored four three-pointers.
Kids should keep these success resumes in an easily accessible place–perhaps the car. They can pull out their resumes and review them before an important practice or game.
They should keep their strengths and victories in mind as they enter the new season–not their weaknesses and losses.
With goal-setting and confidence-boosting efforts, sports kids can enter the new year well prepared to improve their focus, enjoyment and performance.
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