Many athletes do not interpret such well-meaning input in this way. In fact, we have found that young players interpret such statements in surprising ways. Some athletes might think they need to be perfect at the plate and get a hit every time at-bat, and if they don't they are letting down the parent or the coach.
You might think it sounds like a stretch, but this is how the minds of the young athletes work. Kids internalize or adopt your high expectations, then become overly concerned or worried about getting a hit every time they are at bat out of the fear of letting others down.
Sports Psychology Tip No.3: Emphasize Process Over Results
Be careful about the expectations you communicate to your young athletes. We suggest that you instead focus on more manageable goals or objectives that help kids focus on the process.
For example, you might ask softball players to see the ball early when at bat or let go of mistakes quickly. Your players can accomplish these important objectives more often than getting a hit every time at bat.
If you as coaches or parents want to help your young athletes achieve their full potential in sports and reap the many benefits, be sure to acquaint yourself with these and many other mental game strategies to improve success.
Remember parents that after each game, win or lose, you should tell your children you are proud of them. Do not say to your child that you are disappointed in his or her performance. This response can lead to the development of low self esteem. Always encourage improvement but do not demand it.
Most of all encourage your children to have fun! The more fun they have, the more open they will be to learning. Not all children are going to be NFL stars, but as parents we can all make them feel as though they are!
Have a great season everyone!
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