Quick Tips to Help Kids Have their Best Summer Sports Season Yet
Summer is just around the corner and soon baseball, softball and soccer fields will be filled with young athletes trying to play their best. The #1 thing we want to do as adults (whether we are parents or coaches) is to help make sure kids have a fun, safe, and meaningful sports experience, but that doesn’t limit us from helping kids also have their best performance season, too. This week I would like to offer a few quick sport psychology tips to help kids improve their mental toughness and therefore reach their full athletic potential:
- Positive attitude. The attitude we choose each day has a dramatic impact on our performance, so choose wisely! Kids need to be reminded that they can chose to smile, have fun, and be a great teammate and friend to the kids they compete with this summer. When kids have fun and keep a positive attitude, their focus, motivation, and resiliency improve, allowing them to have the best chance of playing up to their potential.
- Goal setting. Sit down with your child and write down specific, measurable, controllable goals. Try to also develop goals with short-term, mid-term, and long-term targets to help with motivation, as well as help your child see the progress he or she has made. Goal setting has been proven to help with self-confidence, which in turn is related to playing at a peak level.
- Focus. Help kids see that by focusing on the next play they quickly move past the last mistake, error, or foul, allowing for the best chance to continue to have a great game. Having a short memory and focusing only on relevant cues (like who to pass to) while allowing irrelevant cues to be ignored (like who is in the crowd watching the game) will help your child make great plays and help the team win.
- Resiliency. It is important for adults to help kids see that stress, frustration, adversity, and failure are all parts of normal human development. When kids learn to accept that life isn’t always perfect only then can they begin to quickly bounce back from tough times and regain their composure for the rest of the game.
- Teachable moments. There are so many life skills, or what I like to call athletic transferable skills, that kids can learn through sports and apply to life if we as adults help them make this connection. Be sure to offer hearty praise for respecting coaches and officials, helping teammates, and being a great sport with opponents – and then show kids how those behaviors help with life success.
Make this summer your best sports season yet by helping guide kids through youth sports. For more immediate help and hands-on tips, check out The Mental Toughness Guide to Athletic Success today!