Had a few parents recently reach out and ask how they can help their young athletes with managing performance anxiety, unrealistic self expectation and confidence.
Whilst there are whole areas of research and published studies around just these 3 topics, with most young athletes it comes down to some basic thing that all parents can help their young athlete develop.
1. Be honest with them!
They are a child, they have a child's body, and a child's brain.
They haven't fully gone through puberty, some haven't even started yet
They are STARTING a very long journey, one full of ups and downs, there is a vast amount of information on skill and strategy to learn about the game, vast amounts of information to learn and implement about their bodies.
Some days it's going to go well, some days it's going to be a train wreck. THATS OK enjoy the ride.
A parents job is to be the safe space where a child can admit to weakness, admit to struggle, and be reassured not chastised.
The journey of learning a sport is never done, and for kids they aren't a product of their training until they have FINISHED growing.
2. Teach them to meditate
A young athlete must learn and practise the power of breath and visualisation in order to navigate what is to come. Meditation can be a very useful way to do this away from the court.
On court breathing practices like "5-5-5 breathing" can be incredibly helpful in those moments where it all gets a bit overwhelming
3. Confidence is EARNT