Full Name
Noah Bates
 
Biography
If you are a parent of young athletes, you are probably well aware of the need for mental training for kids. They practice all year, yet most do not perform as well as their better-trained peers. They train hard, but often don t really compete as well. So, when parents ask them what they think about mental training or sports psychology, they usually reply, "Not much." Many people do not realize that mental training is just as important to athletes at any age as it is to other people in the world of sports. In fact, mental training is even more important for young athletes because of the fast-paced nature of sports competition. Athletes train hard and yet most do not reach their full potential. The mental training that they receive will allow them to peak at their prime performance ability before competition. Parents should make mental training a priority for their athletes. Sports psychologists are available to provide resources that will help guide parents in the process of helping their child become the best athlete possible. Most athletes begin to notice performance declines immediately after competitive meets begin. These individuals should be evaluated regularly. If an athlete continues to decline even after receiving counseling and guidance from a sports psychologist, the parent should seek help from a different source. Parents should work with coaches to create an effective mental training program for their athletes. Coaches often ignore or discount the importance of mental training for athletes because they have a tendency to believe that athletes already know how to train and improve their physical conditioning. This is simply not true. Parents have the ability to mold their children into winners. By providing resources, coaches and parents can create a program that addresses each athlete's individual needs. Parents must take special care to enable athletes to recognize and meet their goals. This will include the development of a mental training program that includes both short-term strategies and long-term plans for improvement. Short-term goals need to be realistic and achievable. In order for these goals to be successful, the athlete must be committed to working toward these goals. The mental exercises that are part of a long-term plan for mental training for athletes should be modified to fit the particular sport the athlete is participating in. Many athletes mistakenly believe that all mental exercises are designed to improve all aspects of their sports performance. This is simply not the case. In fact, many sports activities require the athlete to focus on one aspect of the sport during their training routine. For example, golf requires players to concentrate on their technique as they swing their clubs. In order to encourage mental training for athletes, coaches need to be creative when developing new ways to get their athletes to focus on their individual sport. One of the best ways to do this is through encouragement. Simply telling an athlete that they are doing a good job in a particular sport will do little to improve their performance. So coaches need to provide information about their players' strengths and weaknesses that are relevant to their particular sport. The physical activities that they design help athletes train and improve in the areas that matter most to them. Coaches and trainers can find a myriad of resources to make mental training and sport performance programs effective. They simply need to know where to look.
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