The Advantages of An Inside-Out Mindset For Young Athletes

How to Care About Athletes’ Mental Health

Using Internal Rewards With Sports Kids

Too often today, young athletes are motivated for the wrong reason, says Kirk Mango, a former Division I gymnast who is now a coach and sports parent.

He says many athletes seek external rewards, such as trophies, admiration from coaches and parents, poularity, and scholarships.

The problem with what he calls an “outside-inmindset: The rewards are fleeting, and don’t sustain young athletes, he says.

“When you value something from the inside, when you’re striving to reach your potential, master a skill or do well, regardless of whether you win or lose, you’re climbing that ladder and reaching achievement or a level of accomplishment,” he says.

These inside motivators are more likely to sustain young athletes and allow them to grow and enjoy sports, he says.

What does this mean for you as sports parents, you might ask…

If you want kids to be motivated for the right reasons and stay in sports for as long as possible, you need to think long-term.

Think internal rewards—not external.

Don’t offer to pay them for scoring goals. Don’t focus only on garnering scholarships. Don’t suggest that they only do well if they score goals or win.

Instead, you want to help them feel motivated from within. You can do that by focusing on small goals–such as passing well or being good team-mates.

Instead of offering to pay them to score goals, make sure you do the same thing after every game–win or lose. That might mean taking kids out for ice cream–win or lose.

Help them understand why they like sports.

For example, they might like playing with friends, feeling challenged by the game, or learning new skills. Focus on these positive feelings.

Want to learn more about how to instill self-motivation and boost your young athletes’ confidence and success in sports? At Kids’ Sports Psychology, we’ve got loads of resources for you:

  • E-books to help parents learn how to instill confidence, not pressure in young athletes.
  • E-books written specifically for young athletes to help them overcome common mental game challenges.
  • Videos for parents and kids to learn mental game skills together.
  • Sports psychology articles, audio interviews, checklists and Q and As.

*Subscribe to The Sports Psychology Podcast on iTunes
*Subscribe to The Sports Psychology Podcast on Spotify

Improve Your Mental Game From Anywhere In The World

We’re certain that, as a parent, you want to help your child develop confidence and discipline in sports and life. And as a sports parent, you’d love for your children to reach their potential in sports. But encouraging your child to strive for greatness without pressuring them can be a challenge.

You can get expert mental coaching with us from anywhere. Meet with us via Zoom, Skype, FaceTime or phone call. With today’s video technology, we are able to connect with athletes and coaches all over the globe.

Call Us Today to Schedule Your Free 15-Minute Session.
Find Out How Your Athlete Can Benefit From One-on-One Mental Coaching!

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