Teach Young Athletes To Focus On Themselves Not Others
A lot of emotional and physical energy gets wasted by young athletes when they focus on and worry about their competitors.
Focusing on an opponent means that the athlete is focusing on something outside of their control. This can negatively affect their chances of performing to their potential. One reason why young athletes may do well at a local level but perform well below their best at a championship level is because they worry about their competitors.
Young athletes need to be encouraged to focus on the “controllables” rather than the “uncontrollables”. Competitors are an uncontrollable.
Help young athletes learn to think that it is not about the competition; it is about them. Encourage an attitude in them where they focus more on being the best that they can be, rather than trying to be better than someone else.
Of course, you must model this behaviour. Don’t research and study the opposition, look up others’ results, work out rankings, etc. If you just can’t help yourself, for goodness sake don’t discuss your “investigations” with your athlete.
When it comes to sport, young athletes need to “run their own race” instead of allowing things outside of their control to dictate how they compete. Kids need to focus on being the best that they can be.
Have you ever had to address this problem?
How have you dealt with the problem of stressing too much about competitors as an athlete, coach or parent? Did it work? Can you share any tips? Let me know by leaving a comment/reply or by using the contact details below.
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Darren Wensor is a sports development professional, coach educator, specialist coach of young athletes and founder of the blog coachingyoungathletes.com. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Anchor or via email.