The Sports Mind Game: Building Mental Fitness

Have you ever wondered why your young athlete is not mentally fit and strongbuild mental fitnessand how you can help them achieve it?

According to sports mom, Janis Meredith, it is the way kids talk to themselves. Enjoy her article and learn how to help your child with their self-talk!

When it comes to building mental strength in sports, I am no certified trainer, just a sports mom of 20 years who’s seen her three athletes struggle through numerous mental battles. The outcome of those battles affected their play, their attitude and their success.

build mental toughnessAfter watching so many struggles, I’ve concluded that the mental fitness battle boils down to one simple fact: my kids are hearing voices. Some people call it self-talk; others call it the mind game. No matter what you call it, the outcome is the same: These voices, or self-talk, will either help or hinder their success as they play the mind game in sports.

As the cliché goes, sports is 80% mental, so winning that game goes a long way to helping your athlete achieve mental fortitude.

The voices that hinder your athlete’s performance says things like:

“You suck!”

“You don’t deserve to be on the team!”build mental toughness

“You can’t do this!”

“You’ll never be good enough!”

“you should just give up!”

“You don’t belong here; you’ve already tried and failed, what makes you think this time is different?”

The voices that help your child’s performance say things like:

“You can do this.”

“You’ve worked hard and succeeded before, you can do it again.”

“You are going to keep trying no matter what.”build mental toughness

“You may fall down 7 times, but you can get up 8.”

“you are going to be glad for small victories and look for bigger ones to come.”

“You are not going to give up!”

“You are not a failure; you are simply in the process of improving.”

“You DO belong!”

build mental toughness

Ways through which you can help your child filter negative mental voices.

    • Be Positive, No Matter What

If your child starts being negative, counter with some encouraging and positive words; this will take some time, as fighting negative thoughts is a constant battle.

But remember: Just because he may not say he believes what you tell them or agrees with your positivity, they are still listening.

    • Encourage to Celebrate Small Victories

The things that dwell on their improvement, their unselfish play or their leadership, make them celebrate any achievement, big or small.

    • Remind them that Negative Voices in their head are Lies

Inform them that the only way to refute those negative thoughts is to counter attack with true, positive statements.

    • Enlist the help of others

Speak to teachers, coaches, teammates, siblings and relatives to speak positively with your young athlete. Speaking to people about the positive elements of their performance can help make children outweigh the negative thoughts.

    • Consider Mental Toughness Training

Mental strength mental strength trainerstrainers and coaches are experts in their field. They know helpful techniques that are way out of a parent’s league.

Whether your athlete is 5 or 15, you can help him learn to distinguish between the voice of truth and the voice of lies; the positive and negative self-talk.

It may be a battle that many athletes will fight through their entire sports career, but it is a battle that can be won with their persistence and your support.

Have you tried to challenge the negative self-talk or has this article inspired you to do that… Share your thoughts with us through comments…

build mental toughness
Janis B. Meredith writes a sportsparenting blog, She’s been a sports mom for 20 years, and a coach’s wife for 28, and sees life from both sides of the bench. You can also follow her on facebook and twitter.

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