What Should Sports Kids Focus On?
A sports mom tells us that coaches recognize her daughter, 13, who plays fast-pitch softball, could potentially be a Division 1 player.
But she’s got a big challenge to overcome—a mental game challenge.
In the sports mom’s words, this player gets too nervous on the field. As a result, she doesn’t get a lot of playing time on her elite team.
“My daughter told me that she feels that she has to prove something every time she is on the field because they will not give her playing time if she screws up. This of course makes it 10 times worse so how do we get her to relax?”
The sports mom has identified the problem, but isn’t sure how to tackle it.
This player’s challenges are her high expectations and her desire to show others she’s good enough to play in the field. As her mom says, she focuses too much on impressing others, on making mistakes and on what others think of her.
Focusing on others and on avoiding mistakes is a big mental game no-no.
And at times, it may seem like there’s not way out of the cycle:
The player focuses on making mistakes and on others, and, as a result, plays worse, then worries even more about making mistakes and what others think of her.
But there is a solution, and it’s found in mental game education.
This player—and the many young athletes like her—need to learn how to focus on the things that will allow them to perform well.
Worries about what others think are huge distractions that kids need to banish from their minds.
Instead of being distracted, kids need to learn how to become totally immersed in the process of playing or performing.
In order to do that, kids need to learn how to first, identify what distracts them, and second, refocus.
You should work with your sports kids to identify the feelings, thoughts, worries, or events that distract them.
Then you should teach them the three R’s of refocusing:
- They need to recognize that they are off-task.
- They need to regroup by banishing distractions from their minds.
- They need to refocus by concentrating on the performance cues for their next play or shot.
Focusing on performance cues is key here.
These cues are objects, feelings, thoughts, targets, communication from team mates or cues from their surroundings.
These are important things that they need to focus on in order to successfully complete a task.
For example, before athletes pass the soccer ball, they might focus on getting a signal from a team-mate that she’s open. Or, just before they shoot a soccer ball, they might concentrate on the corner of the soccer goal.
Such cues keep kids grounded in the present and focused on the process.
Want to learn more about how to hone kids’ focus?
Be sure to check out “The Focused Sports Kid,” a workbook/CD program for both athletes and their parents or coaches.
It’s actually two programs—one that teaches adults how to help kids focus, and another that helps young athletes learn critical focusing skills. You can check it out here:
And what do sports enthusiasts have to say about our resources?
“The resources that you have available on your website have been wonderful. I am slowly learning (and hopefully) in time that a sound mental game may be more important than the actual physical part of the sport that your child plays.”
~Darren, sports dad
Help your kids cope with distractions, boost their confidence and performance, and make the most of their sports experience!
P.S. If you’d like to learn much more about helping kids overcome distractions and learn the all-important skill of focusing, check out The Focused Sports Kid here:
Help Your Young Athletes Improve Focus In Sports!
Are your young athletes easily distracted by people shouting on the sidelines? Do they obsess over their mistakes? Do they worry about what people think of them?
These issues will cause their concentration and performance to suffer!
The Focused Sports Kid helps kids overcome distractions that can hurt their performance in sports.
This is a 7-day program for sports parents and kids to discover secrets to helping young athletes improve focus and concentration!
The Focused Sports Kid program is actually two programs: one for sports parents/coaches that provides mental game tips especially designed for parents and coaches, and for young athletes, ages 8 to 12, that will walk them through 7 simple lessons in mental focus in sports.
What are parents and coaches saying?
“I read your report and prepared a one-page summary for my team. I asked the team to attend a 10am training session on Saturday before the final on Sunday. (I told parents) they must obtain the one-page summary handout from me and ask a parent to read it to them until they understood what it meant…My boys succeeded! We beat a team that no one could beat during the year, that was coached by a former professional player that had sons of former Professional players in the team and as a result of believing in themselves, they won. In my humble opinion , I look beyond the game and hope the kids have learned a lesson in life that you really can do almost anything if you put your mind to it. We salute you and the wonderful work you do.”
~Anthony (Tony) Costa, coach
“We just completed the first ten tips, it has helped tremendously for (our daughter) and us. We’ve learned to keep our behavior and comments in check. She’s letting mistakes happen and not worrying about them, she’s now just moves on to the next play with the same attitude as before the mistakes. She’s playing more aggressively all game. Her coach even mentioned that whatever we are doing, keep doing because it’s working.”
~Scott, Sports Dad
Help Young Athletes Overcome Perfectionist Challenges in Sports!
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.
The Sports Parents’ Top Dilemma is a two part program. It includes:
- A 23 page E-book that identifies the challenge, explains why it is harmful to young athletes and gives step-by-stop sports psychology tips for helping kids.
- A 21 page kids’ sports psychology workbook that is intended to help you kids identify beliefs and expectations that are the root of perfectionism.
Now you can learn how to help young athletes overcome the difficult cycle of perfectionism, fear of failure and loss of confidence!
What are sports parents saying?
“My wife and I immediately applied your tips and luckily we got a fast response. Our 16-year-old daughter reads like a case study for lack of confidence. She matches the profile your e-book describes: high technical ability and successful in soccer practice but looks like she forgets how to play in games!”
~Glenn G. New Jersey
“After listening to a couple of your podcasts and reading your “10 tips to confidence in youth sports,” most of the challenges you make note of apply to my 14-year-old son. He’s got all the physical ability, but the more mistakes he makes, the worse it seems to get. So reading and listening to your information has been so helpful and validates what I have observed in him for the past few months. Thank you so much!”
~Brenda Felder, Everett, WA