Why The Mental Game is as Important as Talent For Young Athletes

Youth Sports Psychology

The Importance of a Good Mental Game

Talent is over-rated in youth sports.

That’s the word from Kirk Mango, a youth sports coach, national champion, three-time All-American and Hall of Fame athlete.

As a young athlete, Mango didn’t stand out as being especially talented, he says. But he was passionate and committed—two qualities that are more important than talent, he says.

If parents and kids assume talent is inborn, and that young athletes can’t improve much beyond the limits of their talent, they’re restricting themselves, Mango says. “This lends itself to the idea that one has less control over how good they can get at something. It is an automatic excuse for failing,” he says.

Focusing on the mental game, on the other hand, is critical, says Mango. The mental game side is all about what the athlete believes, he says. “This belief is what makes the biggest difference in how athletes act…Attitude and belief about what one can accomplish are essential to any possibility of achieving anything.”

Here at Kids’ Sports Psychology, we agree with Mango. Young athletes’ mental games are just as important as their physical abilities. Without confidence, kids will not realize their full potential in sports.

For you as sports parents, it’s not always easy to convince kids that their mental game is important. You might begin by inviting them to listen to our interview with Mango! When kids invest in their mental game, he says, they take control of their sports destiny—rather than assuming they can only go as far as their talent allows (link below).

In addition, you as sports parents and coaches can explain to young athletes the many benefits of sports psychology. With mental game training, athletes improve their consistence, boost their confidence, improve their focus and learn how to practice smarter.

Remind them that they’re not broken or dysfunctional if they choose to embrace mental game training. Many pros rely on sports psychology to improve their confidence and performance.

Be sure to talk about mental game training as another form of training— like physical training. It helps athletes perform their best. How you present this information to your athletes influences how they think about it. For example, you wouldn’t want to call them “head cases” who need their heads examined! That’s not what mental training is about. It’s about learning new skills that help athletes thrive in many different kinds of situations.

Want to learn more about how to help kids enjoy sports, boost their confidence and perform well? Here at Kids’ Sports Psychology, we’ve got the resources you need. For example:

  • An e-book for parents, “Helping Young Athletes Embrace Mental Training.”
  • An article, “Why Parents Need to Support Their Kids’ Mental Game.”
  • An audio interview, “Communication to Build Kids’ Confidence.”

Plus, many more e-books (some written for young athletes, some for parents and coaches), videos, articles, question-and-answers, and our new Sports Parents’ Coach interviews!

*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!

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.