Do you know the top 5 mistakes coaches and parents make?
Hi I'm Dr. JoAnn Dahlkoetter, champion athlete, performance coach to five Olympic gold medalists, and sports psychologist for athletes, coaches and sports parents of all levels helping to enhance mental game performance. I've been a performance coach for 30 years, and I've worked on site at the last four Olympic Games with my young athletes in a variety of sports, to maximize their mental game and performance.
Now I'd like to help you as coaches and parents to use Your Performing Edge tips, tools, and resources so you can help your athletes realize their true potential. Over the years I've worked with most every kind of athlete challenge and situation. I understand the pressures, the anxiety, and the struggles that so many young athletes go through when they don't see the big picture, when they aren't getting the right support systems in place. They tell me: “I can do it in practice; why can't I do it when it really counts?” Why do I always sabotage my competitions? How do I keep the negative thoughts out?”
I’d like to be a resource for you and your young athletes to show you more effective ways in how to handle these sorts of challenges as parents and coaches.
SO LET'S GET STARTED
Do you know the Top 5 mistakes coaches and parents make?
Do you know how to do Positive Coaching – How to put Performance in Perspective with your young athletes?
As a sports psychologist working with young athletes, coaches, and parents like you, the #1 principle I’ve learned is that the best coaches and parents know how to read their athletes correctly and understand them for who they are.
Sports provide a wonderful training ground for developing a young athlete’s self-confidence, determination, and inner strength. Kids can learn leadership skills, competitiveness, cooperativeness, and self-discipline in addition to gaining physical fitness. However, sports can also become a negative experience for some kids if they do not receive the right kind of emotional support from a coach or parent. Coaches-parents need to be sensitive to the impact that sports experiences can have on their young athletes’ self-concept and self-esteem.
LESSONS LEARNED THE HARD WAY
As a parent or coach you can appreciate that the lessons gained from sports are frequently carried over into the rest of a young person’s life. That’s why sports psychology coaching can be so helpful at this crucial age. For instance, as you know, the sports setting provides continuous opportunities for kids to compare themselves with others. Kids notice right away how others respond to their performance. The critical reactions of coaches, friends, teammates, opponents, and spectators are often highly visible and are directly felt. Here’s what I often see in my sports psychology practice when I get calls from sports parents or coaches:
TOP 5 COACH & PARENT MISTAKES
1. Overreacting when the young athlete makes an error or doesn’t perform up to expectations.
2. Demanding too much time or commitment from young athletes so that they are over trained, burned out, or continually injured.
3. Giving an inordinate amount of attention to “the star” and ignoring the value of other team members.
4. Keeping the pressure on so every practice becomes a “life-or-death” situation; requiring that every young athlete improve by a certain amount each day.
5. Not respecting that the young athlete needs to have balance in his or her life - time for school, homework, family, relaxation.
WHAT COACHES & PARENTS CAN DO INSTEAD
1. Communicate unconditional acceptance, regardless of the outcome.
2. The achievement standards set should be within the athlete’s capabilities.
3. Avoid under or over-coaching. Some athletes need strong guidance. Others are more self-directed and only need a consultant.
4. After a tough loss listen, support, understand, and praise:
Provide an accepting environment for the athlete to fully feel and express the emotion after the event. Respect and accept those feelings. Do not deny or distort what the athlete is feeling. Do not say, “You did great”, when he knows he didn’t. Instead, point out something positive that was achieved during the competition (e.g. “You maintained good running form through the middle of the race”).
5. Focus on the important lessons of life that can be learned (e.g. being mentally strong in the face of adversity, self-discipline, patience, cooperation). Look forward to achieving future goals.
ARE YOU PUTTING YOUR YOUNG ATHLETES’ PERFORMANCE IN PERSPECTIVE?
Even the more subtle reactions, although unintentionally displayed, are easily picked up by the young athlete. The negative reactions over time can have a deep, long-lasting impact, especially on athletes who are emotionally fragile and sensitive to criticism. The process of self-comparison and taking in feedback or criticism from others occurs in any situation where there is human interaction. However, the effects can be softened and viewed more realistically when an understanding coach or parent helps the young athlete place the competitive experience in proper perspective.
Stay tuned for part 2…..I’ll give you 5 more mistakes and what to do instead….and you can always ask me your questions at info@DrJoAnn.com