Amazing Ways To Enhance Your Child's Mental Toughness Thru Sport

December 10, 2015


By: Anna Agoncillo
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Image Credits: pixabay.com (CC0 Public Domain)
As a parent, you only want what is best for your child.

You shower your beloved with affection and material things to keep your kid happy. You ensure that you are only one call away to keep your kid safe. But what you do for your child is not enough! You must teach him or her the essential skills needed to be successful in life. 

Essential skills such as focus, determination, resilience, and confidence (even under immense pressure) can be transferred over almost all the areas of your child's life.

What safer and better way can your beloved learn these skills than by participating in sport? 


But before anything else, I must remind you how different things are than before.
Due to the dramatic changes in the society structure (e.g., higher cost of living, increase in dual-earning families, or elevated necessity for Masters degree), children today are faced with more uncertainties and expectations than the earlier generations. Placing pressure on the youth to become youth athletes usually creates more harm than good. This approach may have worked for you before, but it may not work for your child.

A better approach is to incorporate Mental Toughness (MT) while you engage your kid in any sport.


In fact, recent study by SportPsych Consulting team showed that secondary school students could hone their MT whether they participate in individual or team competitive sport. Furthermore, MT was higher in students who were athletes. 


MT is the ability to perform and persist under stress and adversity. It is composed of the "essential skills" mentioned above. The good news is…Mental Toughness can be learned through sport!


Do so by following this simple ways:


1. DESTROY THE FEAR OF FAILING


Poor performance can be a result of pre-occupation with the fear of failing. This is why parents and coaches must allow their child to fail every once in awhile. Allowing your child to fail is a vital learning tool to make him or her mentally tough. In contrast, children who are not allowed to fail blame others outside of themselves for their perceived failure.

Help your child to learn something from the competition whether they win or lose the round. Instead of crippling over the fear of messing up, help him become an overcomer!


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Use failure in a positive manner by giving constructive feedback. Sport is not about winning, it is about learning how to deal with obstacles! So encourage sportsmanship and great performances and not just winning. 


2. A+ FOR EFFORT


To increase your children's confidence and motivation, you must praise them for preserving through the obstacles of the sport. Whether it is during training or after a game, you must highlight their achievements. This will help them value the determined pursuit of their long-term goals.


3. IGNORE THE SOCIETAL NORMS


It is normal for the society to overestimate the risks of having children with disabilities in sport and underestimate its benefits. Thankfully, a clinical report discussed how important recreation and sports participation is for these handicapped children.

The benefits of physical activity in the child's life include promoting inclusion, optimizing physical functioning, and enhancing overall well being. Take Jeralyn Tan, a focused athlete of the upcoming 8th ASEAN Para Games who has been playing Boccia since she was 9 years old:

4. BE A GOOD ROLE MODEL Demonstrate MT to your kids! When you are faced with workplace stress, do not burst in front of your children. It is okay to communicate why you are upset but you have to tell them that you are going to work harder to achieve your goal. Make this tangible by creating a list of the things you would like to accomplish within the year such as losing 5 kilograms or joining the 10-KM marathon. Show them your passion and determination to reach these goals. It may not be easy but it is worth the disappointments and the struggles.

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Image Credits: pixabay.com (CC0 Public Domain)

As Edgar Tham once said:

"Kids should be given lots of opportunities to perform under pressure and evaluative situations with opportunities to deal with adversities, disappointments, setbacks, and even possible failures!"

Allow your kids to accomplish success through sport and the Mental Toughness training/coaching!

Sources: 1, 2, 3, & 4


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