In what is already a challenging environment, elite youth athletes are not clear on HOW to manage their emotions and successfully navigate the highs and lows of a competition. In fact, with the advancements in technology and styles of socializing, it is becoming increasingly more evident that the current generation of youth athletes is distinctly different. The iGen – as they are called – is plagued by achievement and thwarted in emotional intelligence, which is a lethal recipe for stress and anxiety.
1. It provides an objective outlet to have open and honest discussions.
- Take risks, but don’t mess up.
Be creative, but make the right decisions.
Have fun, but play your best all the time.
With the help of a professional mental skills coach, players are given the necessary time and space to understand and accept their emotions as a temporary experience and they are guided to develop individualized refocusing strategies for competition. This mental shift is the key to giving young players a sense of control over their emotions, which helps replace fear with courage.
Although coaches and parents may deliver a positive and supportive message, there are tangible skills that players can learn to face adversity. Furthermore, sport psychology has the potential to become a universal platform for the iGen player to learn and master the necessary emotional management skills of life.