Three ways to encourage mental toughness in athletes
Summary: Athletes can train themselves to shake off emotions and return to being focused by remembering the work they’ve put in to being successful, reframing pressure and remembering how they handle each moment determines value not winning or losing…
Mental toughness is the ability to quickly shake off emotions and return to be intellectually focused on the critical task at hand. It isn’t a quality most athletes are born with, but instead something that is fostered at an early age.
Here are three ways that coaches and parents can help young athletes develop mental toughness for in-game and post-game moments…
1) Success takes work!
Anything worth achieving is rarely easy.
“Hard work is the price we must pay for success,” Hall of Fame football coach Vince Lombardi once said. It is important that young athletes understand that work and mastery of skill is what best leads to success. This matters for obvious reasons, but it’s an important belief that can be counted on in high leverage and clutch moments during a game.
If in a critical moment when an athlete is becoming emotionally distracted, being able to step back and remember the work that made him or her successful can help return them to a place of command…
2) Pressure is a myth!
Pressure is a context we wrap around common moments. In moments when a game feels like it’s hanging on a specific moment, but the truth is that no one moment is unique. Competition is competition, throwing a baseball is throwing a baseball, taking a shot at the goal is taking a shot at the goal, regardless of whether it’s the first action of the game or the last.
In the end, the athlete has the freedom to choose how he or she thinks about each situation. The goal is for each athlete to see pressure as the same challenge and opportunity that has been presented to them and accomplished countless times before…
3) Value isn’t determined by wins and losses!
Athletes should be treated as nuanced people not just performers, especially in moments when results do not go as planned.
The best way to accomplish this is to lead by example. Show them that you can graciously accept losing and making a mistake, while still valuing the work and effort that went in to completing the game.
By learning to to accept failure, while valuing effort and preparedness, they will be able to focus on their own thoughts and solutions as opposed to seeking the adjuration of others.
Whatever your athletic training needs – from lessons for children to athletic training to help you compete at the highest level – and everything in between – CoachList can find you the right Sports Service Provider to help you and your family attain your athletic goals!
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