Craig conducted a workshop at the Northwest Coaches conference to help coaches with their athlete’s mental game. This is often way under-emphasized by coaches probably because they just don’t have the information. Coaches: You need to get educated or get left behind! Understand what drives fears for young athletes and use your communication skills to inoculate against it. Watch the video:

Performance anxiety is one of the most common problems with athletes and is the reason why the study of sports psychology exists today.

The reaction that we’re dealing with is the fear reaction You hear it all the time I am sure – they are scared to death to make mistakes, choke or otherwise let their team, parents and coaches down..

How many coaches see their athletes do wonderful in practice, but can’t bring it to competition? They melt down in competition — right? This is one of the most common issues in sports.

The first thing you all need to understand, when working with these kids is how insecure kids are. They are still trying to figure out who they are, where they belong and their long-term sports performance training program.

They are looking for approval from everybody and they’ve got a million things going on.

As coaches, you will be better off assuming these kids are insecure when you’re dealing with them. Then once you’ve taught them some mental toughness techniques, then you can push them. Start at the bottom though, assume they are insecure is my point.

It is important to over emphasize encouragement. I probably don’t need to tell most of you this, but it’s an important thing to remember.  performance anxiety in sports

What is their number one stress in life? Acceptance! Fitting in. If you can remember that and keep it in your mind with everything you say, then you will say the right thing.

This especially important to remember when you’re working with them in groups. This is doubly important when you’re talking about girls and women, because they come out of the womb with programming of community.

I ask athletes all the time, “Why do you do this sport?” And almost all the girls will say, “My team. My sisterhood. Community.” A lot of the girls and women are nodding their heads. That’s right. Men, you need to understand this — okay? That’s how you can Master the pressure in youth sports motivate them. That’s how you can get them all on board and this is also what creates their fears too.

When you can direct an athlete away from focusing on winning and losing and outcomes related to that, then their bodies will react according to their talent and training and they will perform as well as they do in practice. That’s the simple solution. Make sure that each player feels like they fit in no matter what and you’ve doubled your chances of eliminating the fears of not being accepted.

This blog is dedicated to this issue. Read on…

Craig Sigl – Mental Toughness Trainer