Jazlyn Pipkins, founder and owner of Jazletics, is a youth sports coach who says more and more of the kids on her teams have difficulty focusing. They may have ADHD, ADD or other conditions that make focusing hard.
When kids have trouble focusing, they struggle with concentrating on and carrying out instructions, she says. Their minds may wander into their own worlds. They often feel “different” and lack confidence. And they may have a hard time making decisions on the fly.
Pipkins has many mental game tips for helping kids with focusing issues, tips that benefit all sports kids.
“Athletics is 80% mental, 20% physical,” says Pipkins.
First of all, she says, parents should not give athletes candy or sweet drinks before games. She sees this all the time. When kids eat candy and sport drinks, they get a temporary high, and then run out of energy. Instead, they should drink water and eat protein bars, she says.
Second, if sports kids are having trouble focusing, they need to learn how to shift their minds to what the coach is saying. Then they should concentrate on key words to pick up the gist of the message. It’s also important to use body language that shows the coach they’re listening.
Here at The Ultimate Sports Parent, we suggest that kids use the three Rs of refocusing when they’re distracted. First, they should recognize they’re off-task. Then they should regroup, telling themselves to stop and get ready to refocus. Third, they should refocus by turning their attention to the task at hand.
To help sports kids who struggle with making decisions on the fly, Pipkins suggests that they, first of all, eat well. Second, they should do some brain-training. That involves visualizing some of the scenarios that might occur during a game and making a plan for dealing with them.
Sports kids should also watch sports on TV or live. Parents should encourage them to be students of the game. When they see others play, they gain ideas about how to handle difficult situations.
Michael Jordan had ADHD, Pipkins noted. But he knew how to deal with it.
“Michael Jordan had ADHD. He talked about how important it was to prepare himself for various scenarios,” she says.
Listen to this Podcast to Learn More:
Mental Performance Coaching for Youth Athletes
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!
One-on-one sports psychology coaching is the fastest and most effective method to improve your athletes’ mental game, boost their performance, and make lasting changes. And as a bonus, parents learn what to say to help young athletes feel confident and thrive in sports. Please call us at 888-742-7225 with your questions.
Please contact us today at Peak Performance Sports to learn more about individual mental coaching programs for serious young athletes on a mission to greatness.
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