#73: Helping the Athlete Who Practices Better Than She Competes

click here



What can you do if your daughter looks like she’s hesitating during competitions? As much as you believe in the skills your athlete shows during practice, she is the one living her thoughts during the game. 

She has to have the tools to shift her thoughts herself.

In this episode, we’re gonna tackle the differences between practice and competition. Her possible thoughts during the game and the reasons behind it. We’re gonna also talk about ways you can help and support your daughter in times of pressure.

So let’s start!

She Practices Well but Doesn’t Compete

You may have noticed how well she practices but then hesitates during the game. Why is this happening?

On the surface level, it happens because practice feels very different from the competition. There are more nerves, pressure, winning, and other things at stake during competition. It just feels different. This is where she gets judged and watched by other people. Your athlete could be playing safe to avoid letting everybody down.

And if you peel that surface-level back, we’ll see that some athletes who are struggling during the game suffer from some harmful beliefs about themselves. They believe that they have to be perfect. They think they aren’t allowed to make mistakes, and if they do, they’re going to let people down. 

Nervousness and extreme anxiety could be the result of perfectionism or people-pleasing belief. 

How can you help?

If you’ve been listening to our podcasts for a while you probably know the two major things you could do to help your daughter, (a) Shaping her environment, and (b) Providing opportunities for her to learn.

Shaping Her environment

And so when we say you shaped the environment, that means that what you do as her sports mom, what you say, how you show up matters. That is how you shape the environment for her. Athletes who have parents that pay attention to this step have a competitive advantage. 

This is why you must do your part.

The way you carry yourself will influence your daughter to show up at the game fearlessly. Do not let her feel extra pressure coming from you. 

There are “in-moment” and “out of moment” strategies that you can use to help her. 

1. In Moment Strategies

“In moment” strategies are things you could do right at the moment she’s starting to have negative thoughts. You’ll easily notice it in her body language during the game. She’ll look nervous to the point where she’s hesitating to show up and play well. 

There’s NOT a lot that you can do during those moments. She needs to learn the strategies herself. Watching from the stands, you have to be that sturdy strong presence. So, the moment she looks at you or catches your eye, she sees you being there for her. You’re not rolling your eyes at her or showing any signs of disappointment. 

“ Hey, you know, you got this.” “ I’m here for you. I’m here.” 

There’s not much that you can do when she’s at the game, but at least when she looks at you, she knows she has someone with her.

2. Out of Moment Strategies

“Out of moment” strategies are taught outside the game. It is to prepare them with the mental skills they need whenever the game comes. It could be giving them the opportunities to learn what to do pre-game, during the game, and post-game.

That is what we teach our students in The Elite Competitor Program. You have the role to provide her with the opportunities to learn. And you play a role in helping her transfer her skills to a game.

Provide Opportunities

As you provide her the opportunities to go out there, explore, and learn, you are providing her the chance to uncover her own limiting beliefs. Once she has the skills to recognize her patterns and thoughts, she’ll be able to stop and shift these thoughts in her favor.

She needs skills to uncover underlying limiting beliefs because our thoughts create our reality. These negative thoughts form a thought wheel and it’s impossible to get out of it if you don’t know-how. It will be a never-ending cycle and spiral of negative thoughts and outcomes.

To do this you have to be intentional about showing her how to deal with failure. The way you handle failure will set an example for her on how to handle failure herself. Learning how to manage failure the right way will lead to self-confidence.

In ECP, we have a community for sports moms where we give them support and teach them about failure and how to manage it. 

We don’t let moms jump out there and fix wrong thoughts and negative feelings for their daughters. We teach moms how to validate their daughter’s feelings which leads to letting their daughter have the skills to handle mistakes or even nervousness. 

There are also techniques and strategies that we put on our modules such as:

  • Learning what their Hype # is
  • Routine to get there
  • Breath work

You can shape her environment and provide these opportunities to learn. You can be her best support at the moment and be that sturdy presence. Or you can preload mental skills out of the moment by providing her the opportunities for lessons. 

The intense hesitation, pressure, and nerves your daughter feels during the competition will always happen, because there is more at stake during competitions than in practice. And just as we mentioned above, there are underlying reasons such as perfectionism and people-pleasing beliefs. As much as you want to help her get out of a negative spot, she has to do her part as well. She is the one that is out there living with her thoughts.

She is the one out there feeling that nervousness and anxiousness in her body. And you can’t do the breathing work for her. You can’t do the visualization for her. You can’t shift that thought that she’s thinking in her head for her. That’s where programs like The Elite Competitor Program can come in and help.

At the time of this recording, The Elite Competitor Program is on a waitlist. You can check it out and click the link here at ECP – www.kristinabreane.com/ecp. Put your name on the waitlist so that you’re in the loop when we’re opening our program next. It will be soon. 

This is how your daughter can learn those skills, and how you can also learn to support her as the best sports mom. 

Nothing will replace HER learning these things herself. You do your part, she does her part.


Helpful Links:

The BEST way to help us spread the word and get this information into the hands of millions of parents, coaches, and female athletes is by leaving a rating and review on Apple Podcasts. Thank you in advance for joining us on our mission!

All Episodes, Mental Training

listen now

In the latest episode of The Raising Unstoppable Girl Athletes Podcast, Coach Bre shares tips on unlocking the power of confidence to help girl athletes excel.

Do This To Be More Confident In Your Next Competition

listen now

Kylie shares her insights into how utilizing resources like those taught inside ECP has helped her level up by improving her mental game.

How To Train The Mental Game w/ D1 Beach Volleyball Player Kylie DeBerg

listen now

ave you ever had to deal with negative teammates? The ones who bring unnecessary drama or negativity to the team dynamic?

Athlete Tip (How To Handle Negative Teammates)

Know what to say with these top episodes

Your Varsity-level skill set

Listen to our most loved 
athlete tips episodes

Looking for tips for your athlete?