#91: A Dad’s Impact On His Daughter’s Confidence w/ Nathan Wheeler

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Usually, our program leans more into the mom-daughter relationship, but I hear from many moms who say their husbands need to listen to our topics.

So this time, we’ve invited a dad of four female athletes. The oldest is 16 and plays basketball, runs track, runs cross country, plays golf, and tennis. The middle daughter is 14 and plays the same sports as the eldest. The next daughter is nine and plays a little bit of the same sports as her sisters. The youngest daughter is athletically gifted but not too into sports right now.

Nathan is a girl dad, through and through. We talked about some of the frustrations as a sports parent and how to handle them, what Nathan was noticing before his daughters joined The Elite Competitor Program, and their changes as they went through the program. 

Here are some insights from Nathan; catch many more in the episode.

What were you noticing in your daughter before ECP?

At practice, my daughter could shoot but in games, she was just hesitant. She’s a shooter, but she’s not a shooter during the game. 

I noticed and learned that many athletes who experience such things have perfectionism issues. They get afraid to mess up.

As a parent, what was most frustrating about that? 

As a parent, I noticed something was wrong and then felt like I went down the rabbit hole. 

I started researching sports psychology to help. And the more I dig deep and observe, the more I see the differences in my daughter’s actions during practice vs. in-game.

What is your goal in supporting your daughter?

Like every parent would, I want my daughters to do well. That is why I’m always searching for things that could help them improve their performance. 

One of them is by training your mental game which I wished I had known then when I was still in college. I want my daughters to visualize through sports. I believe in the benefits of visualization and I always tell my daughters to visualize. 

Your mind doesn’t know the difference between playing pretend and reality. The more you visualize things your mind will believe and create a reality for them. 

My goal is more than just excellence in sports for my daughters. I want to prepare them for what is to come generally in life. Athletics teaches kids anything to learn in their sports but also prepares them to handle other things in life, even academically. That’s why I encourage them to engage in athletics, athletics will expose them to hardships, and to knowing that they’re not going to have everything in life easy. 

Sometimes, they’re going to do things the right way yet still not get what they want. And that’s the reality in life. In life, you work hard, you do things the right way, but sometimes you just don’t get it. 

One of my goals is to let them experience athletics and transfer these lessons learned directly into life. 

I want them to learn how to deal with that, and overcome that. 

What made you decide to jump into mental training/ECP?

I want my daughter to be better—  that’s why when I found out about ECP through my research, I did not hesitate to send my daughter in. 

I started to enroll my daughter last February. 

She was struggling with perfectionism. She would get stuck on the delivery of the coaches instead of what the coaches were saying. 

What changes did you notice when your daughter started working on her mental game?

After ECP started, I noticed how my daughter learned about just flushing her mistakes. 

When mistakes happen, she just flushes them. 

She would miss like two shots in a row during the game and as she immediately ran back to play defense, I’d see her do the hand motion of flushing it. 

So every time she makes a mistake, she flushes it for the next play. She immediately gets back into the game. And that is the biggest thing I noticed. 

What has been the most impactful part of this journey/ECP?

My daughter’s relationships with others, not only athletically, improved. It changed her whole personality because she’s focused on the mental side of not just athletics, but everything. 

Her dream to get an athletic scholarship was also granted.

That is because she learned that…

“your mindset, and how you respond to things impact every part of your life.”

We work with a lot of moms/daughters, but I hear from a lot of moms that they wish the dads would also listen in. What have you learned in supporting your daughter?

I learned that supporting my daughter is a team thing— you, your kid, and your wife. If you have the mom and the dad on the same page, your daughter will take your advice and opinion more seriously.

I think that both parents need to be on the same page. Pretty much.

Communicating with my wife about the materials, research, videos, and things I found that I wished had, made us think on the same page. 

What message do you have for the dads?

Our kids are our most prized possession. So take time, to, you know, nourish what that child needs.

Work hand in hand with your wife and start helping with the basics, but leave the coaching to the coach. Don’t give your teenager unsolicited advice or it’ll just go from one ear to the other. 

Just try to be there for them. Focus on the process, and not the outcome. What a dad can do is make sure she’s getting everything she needs mentally and emotionally. The outcomes will take care of themselves. The mental and emotional part of sports is 90% of the game. If you got a kid that’s solid mentally, they’re going to be good. 


Helpful Links:

  • Join our FREE training for Sports Moms – How To Strengthen Your Athlete Daughter’s Mental Game Without Being Pushy Or Saying The Wrong Thing.
  • Join us inside our FREE Facebook Group – The Elite Competitor Society – for weekly Q&A, periodic trainings and challenges, and the support of an amazing community of moms, coaches, and the men who partner with us!

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!

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