It happens to all athletes, from the elite and professionals as well as amateur and recreational performers. His or her “normal,” consistently decent level of performance is suddenly hijacked by a slump, fear or block. For no apparent reason, your child athlete can’t seem to buy a hit, make a shot, go backwards on beam or move the way that you know he or she is fully capable of.
As your child’s performance does a nose dive, so too does the level of self-confidence among him or her. They’re flooded with self-doubts and find themselves over-thinking everything! While slumps, fears and blocks are a regular and common part of ALL sports, there are some things that you can do to help lessen their negative effect! Today we will focus on how to handle these challenges with your child athlete.
What can YOU do as a PARENT?
When our kids fail and struggle performance-wise, what they most need from us as parents is our unconditional love and support! They do NOT need you to “fix” the problem or “coach” them as to what they’re doing wrong and what they need to improve or work on! They do NOT need your criticism! They certainly do NOT need your frustration, disappointment and anger! They need your love and support, PLAIN and SIMPLE!
Parents who “love” their kids more when they’re performing well and then withdraw that love whenever the child struggles or fails, create the most powerful form of performance anxiety there is! If you get frustrated and are visibly unhappy with me when I lose, then the next time I go to compete, there will be a lot on the line for me. I will be performing for your love and happiness! If my lovability in your eyes is at stake every time I step into the batter’s box or get up on beam, then I am going to overwhelmed by what’s at stake and, as a consequence, struggle BIG TIME!
When your kid fails or falls into a slump, be there for them emotionally. Be kind and gentle. Be empathic. Step into their shoes and allow yourself to feel what they’re feeling. Don’t judge them! Hug them! Help them keep things in perspective. Encourage them to keep believing in themselves and working hard. Help them understand that these tough times are part of the journey! And genuinely let them know in your words, but more in your behaviors that you will always be right there beside them for the journey and that they can count on you for loving support!
Want to learn more about how to help your child athlete take his or her performance to the next level? Check out one of my most effective programs and products for parents!