sports performance anxiety

4 Fundamental Strategies to Alleviate Sports Performance Anxiety – GDP014

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“4 Fundamental Strategies to Alleviate Sports Performance Anxiety in Our Kids” Episode Overview:

Larry Hagner and Shawn Stevenson talk about 4 fundamental strategies to help our kids get the most out of sporting events. At times, it can be challenging as parents to know exactly how to help bring the best out in our child when they are competing. Shawn and Larry not only offer four strategies to help Dads, but also share some of their own stories and experiences.

Key Take-Aways

  • Focus on progress and not necessarily the results

  • Be extremely mindful of your words when giving feedback about sports performance

  • When it comes to sports performance expectations, don’t set the bar too high

  • Ways to talk to our kids after a sporting event

Progress vs. Results

At times, we can be so focused on the ultimate result of winning vs. the level of improvement. When it comes to sports performance anxiety, we can help alleviate stress by giving our kids techniques to improve it.

For example, instead of telling our kids to “hit the baseball”, we can help them work on their stance or the speed of their swing. Giving kids these small steps for improvement will vastly improve their enjoyment of competing in sports. After all, it’s not whether our kids win or lose. The main objective is to ensure our kids enjoy themselves and learn to improve.

Be Mindful of Your Word Choice When Giving Feedback

Kids hang on every word we say when it comes to critical feedback. Some of the word choices we use sound extremely positive and supportive from our point of view. However, they can have the opposite effect on our kids. As a result, our word choice and feedback can actually increase sports performance anxiety.

For example, the statement “Let’s make sure we go 3 for 3 today!” can sound uplifting to us. However, for some kids, this can create a great deal of pressure and anxiety. Keep in mind, pressure and anxiety at a young age can be the opposite of fun.

Setting the Bar Too High

Youth athletics is meant to be fun and competitive. For the most part, there is a very small percentage of kids who will go on to the professional level. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of expecting our kids to perform at the top level each and every time. Just like us, they will have bad days. Even the best youth athletes (and professionals, for that matter) have bad performances from time to time. The main focus of each and every event is simply to ensure your little athlete tried their very best and enjoyed themselves.

Conversation in the Car Ride Home Will Be Forever Remembered

For the past two years, I have had the privilege of hosting “Dad Workshops” to help other dads be their best. I have had several conversations with other dads who talk about memories of “the dreaded ride home after a game.” In other words, if the performance was not ideal, the conversation was not a good one. Moreover, the conversation would forever become a memory that was less than optimal.

The car ride home is a perfect opportunity to mention all the positive things you noticed about the game regardless if the performance was good or bad. Asking questions like:

  • What was your favorite part of the game?

  • What position did you enjoy playing the most?

  • What part was the most fun?

Questions like these bring our kids into a positive conversation about the highlights of the game. Ultimately, it will help alleviate sports performance anxiety and bring the fun back into sports performance.

Free Resources:

Check out a free chapter from: THE DAD’S EDGE on UNLIMITED PATIENCE HERE

Check out this free resource on: CONNECTION WITH YOUR SPOUSE

Check out this free resource on:  CONNECTION WITH YOUR KIDS


Books Mentioned In This Episode

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