What makes the difference between a weekend sport and a desire of the heart? For kids playing sports, this can be one or the other. But how do parents know which one is right for their child? In today’s competitive sports industry, it is the mind that makes all the difference. Here are the three things you can do to help your child get mind game now.
1. Explain to your child that they can play well and still enjoy what they are doing, win or lose. For example, in golf, your child can want to play well and whether he places first in the tournament or shoots 90, they will still end the day with a smile on their face because of the fun they had playing. Finding the joy in the doing, not the if’s, should have’s or could have’s. There is generally more time spent during the sport than on the moments surrounding the outcome.
2. Have your child pick an outcome that will teach them to look at the big picture. Again, using golf, when your child goes into a competitive round have them pick a number that they would like to shoot that day. Then have them visualize their score card at the end of the round with that number as the score for the round. Have them notice that the rest of the scores for each hole are not there. Next, have them agree that they do not need to worry about their score during the round for they have already “visualized” the outcome of the round and therefore can relax and enjoy the round while playing. The belief is in what they visualized is truth. If what they visualized is their “truth” during the game, there is nothing to worry about. They are then free to just relax and have fun.
a. This allows them to trust their own instinct by choosing what they wish to score and accepting the outcome of that choice.
b. They learn to handle pressure with ease. Since they already know the outcome of the round they agree not to get too high or too low throughout the round. They learn to remain relaxed which is a key component in competitive situations.
3. Have them look at where they make mental choices during competition. Continuing with the golf example, when the round is completed, have your child review the round with honesty. The following questions can help them understand more of their thought processes and decisions during their game.
a. Did they score well?
b. What do they think made them score well?
c. What part of their game were they proud of performing?
d. If they did not reach their outcome, where did they make decisions that altered their desired outcome?
e. Did they stop concentrating?
f. What mistakes did they make mentally?
g. How could they play to their strengths on the next round?
Using these three tips will help your budding athlete have a strong mind for making better choices and decisions, in better directing their goals, and handling the competitive stress with ease. Practice these at least once a week with your child to begin. Then help them do this on their own. Finally, watch your child enjoy their sports experience whether going professional or just playing for the fun of it.
Thank you for accepting my Invitation to spend time together to learn more about how to “Unwind Your Mind” and take control of your life!
Dr. Travis Fox, PhD
Architect of Being™
Equipment to Unwind Your Mind
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