This is a guest article on Mental Toughness from Coach Lonnie who blogs at Kids, Coaching and Parenting Tips…
The Forgotten Element Of Youth Sports Coaching: Mental Toughness
Week after week, millions of coaches across the world are teaching young athletes how to play the game. In all sports, coaches are instructing their athletes on how to kick, catch, throw, swing or do whatever other skill is necessary to help them compete in their sport of choice. They teach technical skills, tactical skills and conditioning, but fail to incorporate one of the most important elements of an athletes development, mental toughness.
In her book, “Bringing Your A Game,” Jennifer L. Etnier, PhD defines Mental Toughness as, “Characteristics of a person who is able to commit day in and day out to training for excellence and who is able to perform at the top of his or her game in the face of stress, distraction, and even bad luck.”
In the pressure packed world of sports, athletes young and old, are in dire need of this mental training. In his book, “Mind Gym,” Gary Mack emphasizes that through quality instruction, coaches can teach their athletes these seven characteristics of mental toughness that will help them perform on and off the field:
Competitive: Finding a way to win.
Confident: Having a can-do attitude and the belief that you can handle any situation.
Control: Controlling your behavior and emotions on and off the field.
Committed: Staying highly motivated and focusing on achieving your goals.
Composure: Learning how to deal with adversity.
Courage: Willing to take a risk.
Consistency: No excuses no matter how you feel.
Training your mind, is just as important as training your body. As a coach, the choice is yours in how you teach these seven characteristics to your athletes.
By incorporating mental toughness into your training regime, you are equipping athletes with tools necessary to succeed. Sites such as www.mentaltoughnesstrainer.com and www.nays.org can help you gain the skills necessary to become a great coach.
We are not here just to teach kids how to play a game. Our responsibility as coaches lie deeper if we want to develop athletes to their full potential. Teach a kid how to face their fears, achieve their goals, maintain a positive attitude and deal with adversity by building mental toughness; and you develop an athlete who is successful on and off the field. Now that is something to be proud of.
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