3 Signs Your Athlete Is Ready For Mental Training (& How To Get Her On Board To Start!)

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Wondering when the right time is to introduce your young athlete to the world of mental training?

This is a common and legitimate question. After all, you want what’s best for your child and their athletic journey. If you’re not sure where to start, don’t worry! In this article, we’ll discuss three signs that an athlete is ready for mental training – and how to approach this topic without making your child feel like there is something wrong with them.

Sign #1: They’re entering the “prime” age (11 – 18 years old).

One of the first signs that they’re ready for mental training? Their age. At this age, we start seeing athletes compete at higher levels. This is also where we see them start to compare a little bit more; they start to look around and realize that, “Oh, wow, maybe I’m not as good as that person,” or “I want to be as good as them, but I keep messing up.” During this time, they may start to compare themselves and start feeling that added pressure, anxiety, and nerves. It’s important to remember that these feelings are entirely normal. This is where mental training can help. At this age, you can start to introduce or even enter your athlete into a formal mental training program like the Elite Mental Game. The Elite Mental Game is set up to facilitate very fast results in mental training to get that foundation going. Also, the program is specifically designed for athletes ages 11 to 18 years old, and gives them a very easy way to consume and apply mental training in a game format.

Sign #2: They’re starting to experience the normal challenges of being an athlete.

Mistakes, comparison, pressure, and anxiety – all of these are a normal part of being an athlete. However, if your athlete is struggling to bounce back after making mistakes, finds herself hesitating during games, or if they spiral after a “bad” game, these might be signs that she needs some mental training. However, you don’t need to wait until your athlete faces these challenges to start mental training. The fact is, it’s usually more effective to equip her with these skills before she’d ever need them. It’s kind of like giving your kids swimming lessons before you throw them into the deep end. Mental training can empower your athlete to face these challenges head-on with confidence.

Sign #3: They’ve set their own goals.

If your athlete has started to set goals for themselves – whether she wants to try for a certain team, play at the varsity level, or if she simply wants to enjoy the sport – mental training is essential. With mental training, your athlete can develop the mental toughness necessary to pursue and achieve their goals. It’s about developing a plan, building resilience, and improving her overall performance. Also, you should consider the goals you have for your child beyond sports. Do you want her to be confident? Do you want her to be able to handle life’s challenges? Or, maybe you want her to excel academically? With mental training, you can equip her with the skills necessary to build self-confidence, navigate challenges, and perform at her best – not just in sports, but in various aspects of life as well.

How to Approach Mental Training with Your Athlete

Now that we’ve identified the signs that your athlete needs mental training, the next question is: How do you introduce the idea of mental training – without causing resistance? Here are three strategies that can help:

Tip #1: Connect it to her larger goals.

Start by asking about her sports goals. What does she want to achieve? Once you’ve discussed her goals, you can then explain how mental training can help her achieve those goals. Focus on how mental training can help her achieve her dreams – not how it can “fix” something wrong with her.

Tip #2: Show examples from athletes whom she admires.

Who’s your child’s inspiration? Who’s the athlete that they look up to the most? Research and share examples of these athletes talking about the importance of mental toughness and mental training in their success. It’ll add credibility and demonstrate that even the best athletes invest in their mental game.

Tip #3: Use any and all available resources.

Use whatever resources you have access to – be that podcasts or websites that focus on mental training. Encourage your athlete to listen to podcasts or visit websites that are dedicated to this topic.

Bonus Tip: Embrace your role as a sports parent

As a sports parent, you need to remember that you play an important part in her sports journey. Embrace it. By learning how to communicate effectively and creating a supportive environment, you can positively impact your athlete’s mindset and overall performance. In The Elite Mental Game program, we acknowledge the importance of parents and provide opportunities for both you and your child to engage in the mental training process together.

Final Thoughts

Mental training isn’t just for elite athletes – it’s a valuable tool for any young athlete who’s looking to improve their performance, enjoy their sport, and build essential life skills. Recognizing the signs that your athlete is ready for mental training – and using these strategies to introduce it – can set her on a path to confidence, success, and a lifelong love for sports. If you’re interested in learning more about mental training and want to explore The Elite Mental Game program, click here. Remember, you’re not alone – we’re here to support both you and your young athlete every step of the way!

Episode Highlights: 

[05:08] Mental training for athletes and signs of readiness. Signs that an athlete is ready for mental training, including physical training and knowledge of the sport. [05:15] Sign number one: She’s entering into what we call the prime age. [08:18] Sign number two: They’re starting to experience the normal challenges of being an athlete. [12:16] Sign number three: She has goals for herself in her sport. [12:29] How to approach mental training with your athlete. Discover strategies for getting athletes on board with mental training, including connecting it to their goals and showing examples of other successful athletes using mental training. [20:48] Discover the benefits of The Elite Mental Game Program for both athletes and parents.

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