Wednesday, May 21, 2014

the price of entry to high performance sports.

it is interesting to hear parents with kids in high performance sport complain about the accountability that comes with being in high performance sport. there is after all, a reason it's called high performance - rep or other and that reason should be because we're taking the instruction and coaching to a different level. a higher level. if you ask around, you'll understand that a high percent of sport is mental; Dan Peterson 80%, Dough Gardner 100%, Mental Edge Sports 90% so..... as a parent the question shouldn't be which hockey / soccer / football camps are the kids hitting this summer, as much as it should be - what we doing to sharpen this players mental agility?

having coached, i've seen & heard a lot. one mama bear wrote me suggesting her kid was a way better learner when he receives only positive praise. 'he doesn't react to constructive criticism well'. as we spoke of a few weeks back, moving people from the performance zone to the potential zone is the entire purpose of coaching. coaching, is not about being comfortable, neither is learning and it is through the ability to listen and learn (mental practice) where any level of athlete excels. as a coach, given the option, i would not ever coach this kid again simply because i would know he's not likely going to be successful outside of the comfort zone he's been raised in. the comfort zone created by his parents. this year i heard a different comment from a different parent about a different coach to the effect of 'the coach has really taken the fun out of the game for our kid'. if this is true, that kid is going to struggle through his/her next stages of life. it's his/her job to bring the fun for the game each day. not the coaches, team mates, parents, or other.

teach them this and you'll have an above average performer while everyone else is racing to be average.

where to start developing mental strength?
  1. teach your son/daughter to be accountable. this starts in the house with their chores & tasks. show them the benefits of doing what's requested and the consequences of not.
  2. have your son & daughter TRY and DO things for themselves. aim for more than you believe they are capable of, empower the failures and celebrate the successes. 
  3. avoid all blaming & excuses wherever possible. statements that point to 'that coach, that ref, that dad/mom/association/president/manager/clique' ~ anything that removes responsibility & accountability from one's failures.
  4. replace #3 with statements like 'that's real life, you'll have to work harder, sometimes things are tough, great opportunity here, how we deal with this is....' anything that resembles taking accountability for one's success. 
  5. get what they give. if your kid isn't willing to put in the effort to practice repeatedly, to study the game they wish to perform etc, don't spend money on camps & options. you're wasting it. go on a great vacation instead and be happy.
there's no mystery about what it takes to succeed in high performance sports. the mystery is why we continue to think that bypassing the mental component, which accounts for such a massive percentage of success in sport (and life) is smart.

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