#172: Helping Your Athlete Handle The Pressure of Her Sport w/ Volleyball Mom Silvana Rivero

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Are you a parent trying to figure out how to support your child in sports? You’re not alone.

Navigating the world of competitive sports as a parent can be as challenging as it is for the young athletes themselves. Let’s dive into the story of Silvana and her daughter Serena, a young athlete, and see what we can learn.

Finding the Right Sport

Serena, like many young athletes, dabbled in various sports, including basketball and swimming, before discovering her passion for volleyball. This exploration is crucial for young athletes to find where their interests and talents truly are.

The Challenges of Parental Support

Silvana’s story highlights a common parental struggle in sports: understanding how to support their child effectively.

“Sports now is such a high-pressure environment that I personally didn’t know how to guide her,” she admits to initially not knowing how to guide Serena in a high-pressure environment.

This lack of understanding can unintentionally add to the athlete’s stress. This is when she recognized the need for change. A turning point for Silvana was recognizing that her approach wasn’t working. She realized she needed to support Serena differently, particularly in managing the intense pressure and anxiety associated with competitive sports.

Joining a Mental Strength Program

Silvana’s decision to enroll in a mental strength program, ECP, marked a significant change in their sports journey. This program not only helped Serena but also educated Silvana on how to better support her daughter.

The program was an “odyssey” of self-discovery for both. They learned the importance of consistent effort and how stepping back can sometimes lead to losing ground. This journey was about more than just improving athletic performance; it was about understanding and managing emotions and pressure.

Joining the program also greatly improved Silvana and Serena’s relationship. Silvana learned to listen more and speak less, allowing Serena to express her needs and emotions freely. This shift improved their communication, which is essential for a young athlete’s mental well-being.

Lessons Learned: Parenting And Mental Training for A Young Athlete

Silvana didn’t keep her learnings to herself. She shared her insights with other parents and athletes, helping to create a more supportive and understanding environment for everyone involved.

Silvana’s experience offers several key takeaways for parents of young athletes:

  • Reflect on Personal Triggers. Parents should introspect to understand how their own anxieties impact their athlete, especially before games. Asking questions like “Why am I being triggered by this?” can help in self-reflection.
  • Consider the Impact of Post-Game Discussions. Think about how the things you say to your child after a game affect them. It’s important to be aware of how these conversations might be impacting the athlete.
  • Respecting the Athlete’s Emotional Space. Understand when your child might not want to talk and respect that. It’s often better than forcing a conversation or being upset that they’re not sharing.
  • Provide Opportunities, But Let Them Choose. Offer your child opportunities for growth, but recognize that they need to make the choice to engage with those opportunities themselves.
  • Prioritize the Parent-Child Relationship. Make your relationship with your child a priority over their sports performance. This approach will have a positive impact on all areas of their life.

The Bottom Line

Silvana’s journey with Serena is a powerful example of how parents can evolve in their role as supporters, coaches, and confidants in their children’s athletic endeavors. By understanding and adapting to the unique challenges of competitive sports, parents can help their young athletes not only succeed but also enjoy their sports journey. Good luck!

Episode Highlights: 

[00:00] Parental pressure in youth sports. Silvana shares her journey of navigating high-pressure sports environments with her 14-year-old daughter, Serena.

[04:13] Parenting and athletic development. Silvana shares her experience of discovering ECP through a session and eventually signing up after recognizing the need for mental strength training for her daughter.

[08:07] Mental training for young athletes. Silvana shares how she uses their own experiences and learnings from ECP to help Serena manage this pressure and improve her performance.

[13:08] Impact of mental training program on mother-daughter relationship. Learn how the mental training program improved Serena’s confidence and helped her bond with her mother, who noticed changes in her anxiety and pressure.

[17:04] Parenting and mental training for a 14-year-old athlete. Discover Silvana’s tips and insights for parenting and mental training for a 14-year-old athlete.

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