How to Help Young Athletes Overcome Worry
A sports parent wrote to us recently to say…
“My son is a top player but cannot perform any longer in matches when there is a crowd watching. He is 17, however he is as tight as a drum when playing matches now.”
“He still wins but says he only gets 20% of his ability to come through because he’s so tight. He loses to better players because of tightness. What can we do?”
This young athlete–like many others–struggles with social approval, which means he worries about the possibility that others may be judging his game.
When he worries about what others think about his performance, he is distracted from the game at hand and unable to focus and play his best.
He might worry about looking foolish in front of so many people or making a mistake in matches. Either way, such worries cause kids to perform tight and try to avoid mistakes.
When young athletes worry about what others think, they can’t focus 100% on the game. They become afraid to make mistakes and take risks. They struggle with playing intuitively and freely, which is when they play their best.
The first step is to talk to your athletes and find out what they’re thinking…
Are they worried about:
*Making mistakes in front of the crowd?
*Looking foolish in front of others?
*Gaining your approval?
Next, find out when they think about others and what assumptions they are making about what others MIGHT BE thinking. This is key. Identifying the assumptions they make is a big step in helping them avoid worrying so much.
Once you have identified these assumptions, it’s time to help kids focus on the game at hand. They need to challenge these assumptions and you can help inject some reality. How do they really know others might be judging them?
Remind your athletes to focus on performance cues, such as footwork, committing to the plan, and tactics. Remind them to focus on seeing the ball early and anticipating each shot.
By focusing on the small important objectives, kids are less likely to worry about social approval.
Help Young Athletes Overcome Perfectionist Challenges in Sports!
Nearly every athlete struggles with some form of perfectionism or fear of failure.
Kids who look like stars in practice will often choke up or under perform during games or competition. Other athletes expect too much of themselves—then get frustrated when they don’t meet their high expectations. Or they’re extremely hard on themselves.
In all cases, this causes young athletes to play it safe. They refuse to take the important risks that help them excel and improve their confidence. Suddenly, they’re held back by fear, indecision, and hesitation.
Learn how to help young athletes overcome the difficult cycle of perfectionism, fear of failure and loss of confidence. You can stop guessing about what to do and say to your athlete!
Our program: “Sports Parents’ Top Dilemma: Helping Young Athletes Kick Perfectionism and Fear of Failure,” will walk you through the problem and arm you with practical solutions you can start implementing today.
You’ll start seeing changes in your young athlete’s confidence almost immediately.
Make your role as sports parent more enjoyable and easier! We tell you how to help your young athletes:
- Let go of mistakes more quickly
- Accept feedback better
- Stop criticizing themselves
- Perform more freely
- Think more creatively
- Stop worrying about what others’ think
- Dramatically improve their performance and attitude in sports
- Improve their confidence in sports
- They, too, will have more fun and reap more rewards.
“Sports Parents’ Top Dilemma: Helping Young Athletes Kick Perfectionism and Fear of Failure,” consists of two parts:
- A 23-page e-book that identifies the challenge, explains why it is harmful to young athletes (but also very common), and gives in-depth, step-by-step “sports psychology” tips for helping kids. Download this instantly!
- A 21-page kids’ sports psychology workbook that is intended to help your kids identify beliefs and expectations that are the root of perfectionism. It will also help them develop strategies to play more freely with less fear in competition.