#174: How to Give Your Athlete a Competitive Advantage (In Her Sport & Life!)

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Are you a sports parent looking to help your daughter gain a competitive edge in her chosen sport and in life?

As a coach with over 12 years of experience, I’ve heard countless stories of talented young athletes who struggle to perform at their best during competitions, despite excelling in practice.

So, what can you do to give your athlete a competitive advantage – both in sports and life? Let’s explore how you can equip your daughter with the mental strength and confidence needed to stand out in her sport, even among athletes of similar skill levels!

What Does a Competitive Advantage Mean?

When we talk about giving your athlete a competitive advantage, we’re referring to her ability to consistently perform at her highest potential, especially under pressure. As your athlete progresses in her sport and faces tougher competition, the differences in skill levels become less significant. What truly sets athletes apart is their mental preparedness to handle various game situations, bounce back from mistakes, and maintain confidence throughout competitions.

Why Physical Training Isn’t Enough (+ 3 Essential Components to Reach Their Potential)

Yes, physical training is absolutely essential – but physical training alone won’t fully prepare your athlete for the unique challenges of competitive sports. More repetitions or personal trainers can improve her skill and confidence to an extent, but they won’t teach her how to thrive under pressure, recover quickly from errors, advocate for herself, or manage negative self-talk.

To help your daughter reach her full potential, it’s crucial to recognize that she needs three key components: physical training, knowledge of the sport, and mental training. Mental training addresses the beliefs, confidence, and skills required to navigate the psychological aspects of being an athlete.

Facing Common Challenges

Every athlete, regardless of age or skill level, encounters common challenges such as pre-game nerves, handling mistakes, dealing with pressure, and managing peer and self-expectations. These challenges are part of the game and cannot be avoided. The difference lies in whether your athlete has the mental skills to tackle them effectively.

Starting Early with Mental Training

One big advantage of mental training is that it can be introduced at a young age, providing your athlete with lifelong skills. Waiting until later in her athletic career could mean missed opportunities and unfulfilled potential. Mental training can be the game-changer that allows her to thrive throughout her sporting journey.

The Competitive Advantage of Bouncing Back from Mistakes

Consider your daughter’s sport and how quickly she needs to recover from mistakes. Some sports, like volleyball or basketball, offer minimal time between plays, demanding instant recovery. Athletes who can bounce back swiftly from errors have a clear competitive advantage. Teaching your athlete a “snapback routine” – a combination of breathwork and physical gestures – can significantly accelerate her recovery time.

Off-Court Wins

Mental training doesn’t only impact on-field performance. It also brings off-court wins, such as better decision-making, healthier risk-taking, improved relationships, self-advocacy skills, enhanced body image, and better academic performance. These benefits extend far beyond the game itself, positively impacting her overall life.

Is Mental Training Worth the Investment?

You’re already investing a lot in her sport; you’re already paying for lessons, already paying for her team, her equipment, and a lot of other things related to her sport. So, you might be wondering: “Is it really worth to invest in mental training? Is it really important?”

To that question, I ask back: “How much is it worth it to have this peace of mind knowing that your daughter knows how to navigate these challenges that will come up for her on the court?”

Personally, I’ll say that mental training is absolutely worth it. Think of it as an investment in your daughter’s well-being and future success. It provides peace of mind, knowing she can navigate challenges on her own, make better decisions, maintain confidence, and have a healthy body image. These invaluable life skills are worth every penny.

The Role of Supportive Sports Parents

Lastly, don’t underestimate the influence of supportive sports parents. What you say and do before and after games matters immensely. Your ability to ask the right questions, provide constructive feedback, and build your athlete’s confidence can give her a significant competitive advantage.

The Bottom Line

In the world of sports, it’s not just about physical skills; mental strength and confidence are just as important. By investing in your daughter’s mental training and becoming a supportive sports parent, you can help her gain a competitive advantage that extends far beyond the field or court. Equip her with the skills she needs to excel in her sport and in life, ensuring she reaches her full potential and enjoys a fulfilling athletic journey. You can do it!

Episode Highlights: 

[00:00] Giving young athletes a mental edge in sports. Discover tips for equipping girl athletes with confidence and a competitive advantage in sports and life.

[03:57] Mental training for athletes. Discover the importance of mental training for athletes.

[08:15] Mental training for athletes to overcome mistakes quickly. The importance of athletes being able to quickly recover from mistakes in their sport, with some sports requiring a quicker recovery time than others.

[12:16] The impact of mental training on a 12-year-old athlete’s performance and personal growth.

[15:48] Developing mental strength and confidence in young female athletes. The importance of equipping girls with confidence skills to navigate life and sports, citing the value of peace of mind and self-advocacy.

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