#173: How To Know if Mental Training is Worth The Investment – 3 Questions To Ask Yourself

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Are you wondering if mental training is a wise investment for your athlete? As a coach who has seen the profound impact of mental training, I’m here to guide you through this important decision.

Why Mental Training Matters in Sports

In my experience, the mental aspect of sports is just as important as physical skills. I’ve noticed – and you might have too – that the best athletes and coaches recognize the significance of mental strategies in handling pressure, nerves, and mistakes. These skills aren’t innate; they’re developed through focused mental training.

The Transformative Power of Mental Training: A Real-Life Example

Let me share a story from our community that illustrates the power of mental training. Despite her soccer team’s loss, one of the athletes maintained a positive outlook throughout the game. This is a testament to how mental training can foster resilience and a positive mindset in athletes, helping them navigate both the highs and lows of sports.

Mental Training as an Investment

I encourage you to view mental training as an essential investment in your athlete’s future. It’s not just about sports performance; it’s about their overall development as individuals. Think of it like investing in health, mental well-being, and education. The benefits are far-reaching and long-term.

Assessing the Need for Mental Training: Three Key Questions

Is mental training worth the investment? Here are three key questions to ponder:

  1. How much of your daughter’s sport is mental?

Reflecting on my interactions with athletes, it’s clear that a significant portion of sports is mental. Recognizing this emphasizes the importance of mental training in boosting performance and self-belief. 

  1. What opportunities are you giving her right now to invest in the mental side of sport?

Investing in an athlete’s development goes beyond just physical training and knowledge of the sport; it crucially involves mental training as well. These three components – physical training, sports knowledge, and mental training – are essential for an athlete to reach their full potential.

If you neglect any of these aspects, especially mental training, it’s like you’re reducing their overall potential to zero. Mental training empowers athletes to enjoy their sport, maximize their abilities, effectively handle challenges, and bounce back from mistakes. Hence, it’s vital for parents and coaches to ensure a balanced focus on all these areas for the holistic development of the athlete.

  1. What questions are you hoping your athlete is learning from her sport? What lessons are you hoping will transcend the court, or the field, or the mat, or wherever she competes?

Consider this: What are we, as parents and mentors, hoping our young athletes learn from their sports engagement? It’s not just about the basic skills of the game – kicking, shooting, or passing the ball. The true essence lies in how they develop as individuals through the myriad challenges and opportunities that sports present.

Sports offer a unique platform for personal development, teaching resilience, confidence, and self-advocacy in the face of challenges. The mental training aspect is vital, providing tools like the snapback routine for maintaining focus under pressure. These experiences aren’t just for the game; they translate into life skills for overcoming obstacles, navigating social dynamics, and making better choices.

As parents and mentors, we must ensure these young athletes are equipped to separate their self-worth from their performance and view challenges as opportunities, shaping their character for long-term success in life, not just in sports.

Other Questions to Consider:

  • Where do you hope that she will be in the future?

Here’s another question: Where do you hope that she will be in the future? This thought extends beyond their immediate sporting achievements, focusing on the person they’re becoming, influenced by the life lessons and skills we impart as parents and mentors.

The role of a parent or a mental performance coach, like myself, is important yet sometimes challenging. While essential, our teachings can be received differently when echoed by other figures like coaches. This is why it’s important to have a supportive, reinforcing environment where multiple voices contribute to the athlete’s development. It’s often when these messages come from various sources that they resonate more strongly with the athlete.

Investing in your daughter’s confidence, mindset, and ability to navigate the ups and downs of both her sport and life is invaluable. It’s not a matter of if but when she will face challenges like disappointment, failure, and pressure. Preparation for these inevitable experiences is key. These skills need to be instilled proactively, front-loaded to empower her for future challenges.

Even if she’s currently struggling with performance or self-confidence, mental skills are not only useful in the moment but also as foundational tools for future resilience. By equipping her now, you ensure she possesses the confidence and skills to face and navigate whatever comes her way. This investment is about more than just her current sporting life; it’s about setting her up for long-term success and well-being.

  • What is the cost of your daughter staying exactly where she is right now?

There’s a cost to everything, right? So, I want you to consider the implications of your daughter’s current situation in her sports journey. Everything has a cost, whether it’s changing or staying the same. Project into the future, weeks or months ahead, even to the next season.

Ask yourself, are you and your daughter content with her current state? Think about the potential regret of not equipping her now with the skills to handle her sport’s pressures. As her time in sports may be limited, it’s crucial to act rather than hope she’ll spontaneously improve or rely on others like coaches, who may not be equipped to teach these essential skills. Acknowledge the challenges she faces, possibly mirrored in her teammates.

Consider the cost of inaction – not just the cost of pursuing growth, but what she might lose if she never explores her full potential or pursues her ambitions. The decision to invest in her growth is about weighing the costs and potential benefits of both action and inaction.

The Bottom Line

Mental training is an invaluable investment in your athlete’s overall development. It’s more than just improving sports performance; it’s about equipping them with life skills like resilience, confidence, and the ability to face challenges.

By considering the significant mental aspect of sports, the need for a balanced focus on physical, mental, and sports-specific training, and the long-term benefits of such an investment, you’re not just enhancing their current abilities but setting them up for success in life. The cost of inaction could mean missing out on nurturing a well-rounded individual capable of handling the pressures of sport and life.

As parents and mentors, it’s crucial to act now, providing the support and skills necessary for their holistic growth and well-being. You can do it!

Episode Highlights: 

[00:00] Investing in mental training for athletes. Discover the importance of mental training for athletes and parents, with a highlight on the benefits of my signature program for girls, the Elite Mental Game.

[01:56] Why investing in mental training is worth the investment of time, money, and energy for long-term benefits.

[05:32] Mental training in youth sports. Discover the three key questions parents should ask themselves.

[10:06] Mental training for athletes and its impact on performance and personal growth. The importance of mental training for athletes.

[14:34] Learn more about the importance of developing skills to navigate wins and losses, and to be resilient in the face of challenges. How investing in mental skills training for your daughter can help her navigate the ups and downs of her sport and life, and set her up for success.

[19:30] Mental training for athletes and its impact on performance. Learn more about my personal story – how I struggle with mental training in sports and the impact it had on my athletic performance and relationship with my mother.

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