Your athlete’s success will face a lot of challenges. Youth sports is full of challenges, there is no doubt about that. You’ve seen your child face playing time battles, coaching conflicts, teammate clashes, and performance slumps. And these are without a doubt big hurdles for your young athlete.
But believe it or not they are not the biggest obstacles to your child’s success. There are bigger tests that have nothing to do with the team, coach or even playing time. These challenges I am going to share with you–in no particular order–go deeper than that.
Obstacle #1 Mental Frailty
The mental game can sabotage your child’s success every single time. It doesn’t matter if your young athlete is the best player on the team, in the league, or even in the state. If your child does not know how to deal with the mental battles that always come in sports, then all the skill in the world can not guarantee success.
Experts have argued: which is more important, the mental game or the physical talent? An article in Youth Sports Psychology states that the mental game likely accounts for about 50% of a child’s performance. As young athletes start competing at elite levels, about 90% of the game is mental.
The reason for this is that athletes must learn how to handle mistakes in order to succeed. And youth sports is chock full of mistakes, in every game. These are kids, after all. They are not pros, although pros also make many mistakes. Mistakes are just part of competition and if your child does not know how to mentally deal with them, there is no way they can push forward and achieve success.
Obstacle #2 A Weak Work Ethic
Although sports is supposed to be fun, it’s also supposed to be work.
For little ones, of course, it’s mostly all about fun. But the fun factor lessens the older your kids get. In my opinion, the fun shouldn’t totally disappear, but it will compete heavily with hard work as your kids grows up in sports.
According to research studies on the work ethics of high performance athletes, Jay Coakley and Robert Hughes noted several characteristics of great athletes:
- Great athletes are dedicated to the game, making sacrifices to play.
- Great athletes relentlessly seek to achieve perfection.
- Great athletes don’t let obstacles keep them from pursing to achieve their potential.
In other words, great athlete work hard. And they keep working hard, day after day, month after month, year after year.
If your child wants success on the next level, be it middle school, high school or college, they must not run from hard work; in fact, they must be committed to it.
Obstacle #3 You
Before you skip over this obstacle and assert that there is no way you, as a sports mom or dad, are standing in the way to your child’s success, let me ask you a few questions…
- Do you try to fight your child’s battles?
- Do you ever bail your child out of a difficult situation or attempt to make things easy for them?
- Are you more invested in your child’s youth sports experience than they are?
It’s hard for us parents to admit that we might be the reason our kids are not succeeding. In fact, you may think that what you are trying to do is help your child have success, but in fact you are doing the opposite because you are way too involved in the journey.
Parents, these obstacles don’t have to stand in the way of your child’s success. There is a way over, around and through each one of these hurdles. You are a huge key to your child’s success. Help them work on building mental toughness, encourage a hardy work ethic, and then, encourage them as you back off and let them take the journey.
If you are struggling because your child is facing any of these obstacles, I can help. I’m a life coach for sports parents and I want to help you help your child succeed. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.