“I do not need to improve mental toughness — I’m already mentally tough.”
Some athletes may feel that they are already mentally tough. Mental training is designed to help athletes stay mentally tough. All athletes can tune up on their mental game. Mental training is also a good review for mentally tough young athletes.
“My teammates or coach would think I am weak if I needed mental training.”
Mental training is not a weakness, but a chance to improve young athletes’ mental game and performance. Young athletes show strength by admitting they need to improve their mental game and are willing to better themselves in this regard.
“If my coach does not value sports psychology, then why should I?”
Some coaches might not know much about mental training or how it can help athletes. Young athletes don’t need coaches to support mental training if they believe in it themselves. Help educate coaches by printing relevant articles from Sports Psychology Today for your athletes’ coaches. You should help your kids understand the benefits of mental training, including improved focus, more stable confidence, and the ability to bounce back after errors. You want to tie this conversation into their main mental game challenges in sports.
When a coach uses practice time to discuss athletes’ mental game, he is sending a clear signal to his athletes about the importance of mental training.
“I am playing well right now. I do not want a mental coach to mess up my momentum.”
For young athletes who are playing well, this is a perfect time to talk about their mental game. Kids can become more aware of the feelings and thoughts associated with playing well. You want them to understand what they are doing well. This will help athletes keep their momentum and reach peak performance more often.
“Performing well is all about hard work and dedication, not mental stuff.”
Hard work and dedication are important, but performance does not always go as planned. Athletes will likely have to deal with distractions or strong adversity. Mental training will help athletes cope with these.
“I don’t want my opponents to find out I need mental help, and use it against me.”
Some kids might not want to work on their mental game because they fear opponents might have an advantage. Mental coaches honor their students’ confidentiality. No one will know about the mental challenges young athletes face. You can reassure your children and teens that information about their challenges will stay within the family as well.
“My coach would bench me if he knew my mind was getting in the way of my game.”
Coaches want young athletes to be open and honest about their mental challenges. Some athletes are not honest about their mental game for fear of losing playing time. In reality, mental training will help athletes improve their performance in competition, which will give them a better chance to contribute to the team and even get more playing time.
“I just need more experience in competition and then I will perform better.”
Young athletes do need to improve their performance. But they also need to be prepared to deal with distractions and adversity in competition. Athletes will not always perform perfectly. Mental training will help kids be better prepared when they don’t perform their best.
“I don’t want to focus on the negative — that’s all a mental coach does.”
Mental coaches do not focus on the negative. They help athletes use their strengths and improve their weaknesses to reach peak performance. Sometimes, mental training is about staying on top of your game and knowing how to keep the momentum going, in addition to addressing athletes’ weaknesses.