Kids Cubs baseball-coaching

As most of you know, there are plenty of strategies, tools, techniques, and theories that exist today to help athletes.  With that in mind, I would argue that the most important thing for players is the understanding and mastering the mental game in sports.

To handle the inevitable ups and downs of sports, and life, what you need to know is that a circumstance (a win, loss, teammate, coach, the past or future) cannot cause you to feel a certain way.

“Your feelings are solely connected to your thinking. When your head is clear, you’ll feel good. WBigAlPlayerHittingGndBall-500pxhen you’re head cluttered, you’ll feel bad. Anything on the outside is actually neutral.”

Does that sound different?  As Garret Kramer states, it’s normal for it to appear that a circumstance has the power to make you feel anxious, frustrated, or even happy. But your mind, like the minds of all human beings, doesn’t work from out to in—it works from in to out. That’s why, if you’re a hitter, sometimes you’ll feel insecure when looking at all of those runners on base or all of the fielders out there, and sometimes you won’t. The base runners aren’t driving those feelings, its the added pressure of knowing that if you don’t score them, you will feel some form of failure.

The player’s cognitive perspective (level of clarity or clutter in the moment) is driving  this.

From my perspective, make sure tell your kids to relax and have fun.  I know that sounds cliche, but let them know that the reason they are out there isn’t to please parents or their coach, but to please themselves.  Youth sports should be joyful, not overly stressful.

Source: Garret Kramer’s The Mental Game

Young Athletes (and Parents): Here’s the Only Thing You Need to Know To Master the “Mental Game”