For over two decades I have individually coached 1000’s of athletes that have come to work with me in many different mental and emotional conditions.
Most are battling growing pains associated with gaining strength from the normal struggles inherent in youth sports.
Some of the common struggles encountered include a lack of confidence, fear of failing, overcoming anxiety, finding a place of belonging, comparing oneself to others, accepting a loss with dignity, dealing with difficult emotions, and perfectionism are some of the most identified challenges.
These conditions, in and of themselves, are not only inherent in youth sports, but they are most likely going to be encountered in life outside of sports.
As parents, friends, and well-intentioned coaches, we must stop making the struggle a fatal condition to be immediately fixed or to be avoided at all costs, and instead, embrace it as an opportunity to be leveraged for long-term strength.
It seems as though in the world of youth sports a lack of confidence, fear of failure, losing, and the experience of heavy emotions are signals that we should RESCUE the individual from these feelings as quickly as possible because if we do not, they are going to experience fatal consequences.
You cannot go to any youth sports event without someone trying to console a young person that is feeling emotional, that did not perform very well, that needs to hear “THEY PLAYED GREAT.” Or, in the same situation, seeing parents that are so wrapped up in the success of their kids that they literally cannot eat, relax, or enjoy watching their kids compete. The young person then unconsciously feels responsible for the well-being of the parent.
The message our kids are screaming at us through their actions and responses to the natural lessons of youth sports is that they are NOT EQUIPPED for the challenges presented to them through competition.
THEY ARE NOT SICK, BROKEN, OR OVERLY EMOTIONAL.
They are UNSKILLED.
It is as though they are lifting emotional weights and the amount of weight is so heavy it is crushing them. ENCOURAGEMENT by itself is insufficient to provide the strength needed to handle the weight.
We must provide coaching and training for them so they can handle the weight down the road, as well as, increase their load as they mature and face other heavier challenges. If you cannot provide that coaching, then allow someone else to do it. If your child lacks math skills, you have no problem hiring a tutor.
OUR YOUNG PEOPLE ARE CAPABLE of learning how to overcome a lack of confidence IF they are taught.
They are capable of managing discouragement IF they are taught.
They can deal with losing and comparisons IF they are taught.
One of the best values for those competing in youth sports is on-the-job training that occurs through competition. DO NOT MISS OUT ON THE OPPORTUNITY TO give your kids the chance to learn these skills.
We will either TEACH our kids to face fear, build confidence, overcome discouragement, and manage emotions, or they will be lost in a world that requires these skills to live independently and meaningfully.
THE LESSONS ARE THERE!!
PS: Want me to teach your kid these skills? Or, do you want me to teach you how to teach your kid/team/player these skills? Let’s talk! Schedule a time now: click here to schedule!