Raising Elite Competitors

3 Signs Your Athlete Is Ready For Mental Training (& How To Get Her On Board To Start!)

September 26, 2023 Coach Bre Season 2 Episode 160
Raising Elite Competitors
3 Signs Your Athlete Is Ready For Mental Training (& How To Get Her On Board To Start!)
Show Notes Transcript

Ever wondered if your young athlete is ready for mental training?

Here’s what we’ll cover in this episode:

  •  3 Signs Your Athlete Is Ready for Mental Training
    • Understanding the prime age window (11-18 years old).
    • Recognizing the common challenges young athletes face.
    • The significance of setting sports-related goals.
  • How to Approach Mental Training with Your Athletes
    • Connect it to her larger goals.
    • Show examples from athletes whom she admires.
    • Use any and all available resources.

Ready to empower your athlete with the mental edge that they deserve? Tune in to the full podcast episode and discover how to set them on a path to success!

Episode Highlights: 

[05:08] Mental training for athletes and signs of readiness. Signs that an athlete is ready for mental training, including physical training and knowledge of the sport.

[05:15] Sign number one: She’s entering into what we call the prime age.

[08:18] Sign number two: They’re starting to experience the normal challenges of being an athlete.

[12:16] Sign number three: She has goals for herself in her sport.

[12:29] How to approach mental training with your athlete. Discover strategies for getting athletes on board with mental training, including connecting it to their goals and showing examples of other successful athletes using mental training.

[20:48] Discover the benefits of The Elite Mental Game Program for both athletes and parents.


Helpful Links:

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Welcome back to the raising elite competitors podcast. I'm coach Bree, a mental performance coach for girl athletes. And I'm so happy that you're here, whether you are just getting going on this whole journey with your athlete, or you're a seasoned sports mom with lots of seasons under your belt. This podcast is for you to help you know, how to raise a confident and mentally strong athlete. And also so that you can enjoy this journey along the way. Right? I am talking today all about how to know if your athlete is ready for mental training, three signs that you can't ignore. And also how to get her on board with the idea of training her mental game and confidence in her sport. A common question I get asked is. How do I know if it's time to start? And also, how do I present this to my athlete, without her thinking that something is wrong with her or making her think that this is like counseling or something like that. So we're going to dive into that here in a second. And before I do, I do want to give a shout out to a mom in our community, her name. Is Bethany. She recently shared this. About her experience inside our signature and mental training program for athletes called the elite mental game. So she said, The elite mental game helped my daughter navigate through some difficult times during her high school hockey season last year. And as set her up to be confident and consistent in her everyday life, every teenage girl athlete or not. I would benefit from this. So Bethany. I just wanted to highlight that shout out. Awesome job for first of all, giving your athlete the skills that she needs to be able to navigate things that are happening in her sport, but also equip her with skills outside of her sport because mental training goes well beyond the sport, as Bethany knows. So let's talk about how this can actually help your daughter. To let's dive into it. First of all, what is mental training? Mental training. Is a lot more commonly recognized now than it was even a decade ago, or even when I was competing in college. But there still is some confusion, especially from athletes on what that means. This is how we break it down in order for your athlete to achieve her potential in order for her to. I play her best, enjoy her sport and have the skills that she needs to show up as the best athlete that she can be. She needs three things. She needs knowledge of the sport, physical training and mental training. Now physical training is typically the one that we check the box on very easily. It's where she goes to practice. Maybe she even has a physical trainer outside of practice. Maybe she does specialty lessons like batting practice, pitching practice, setting, practice, whatever it is, she really invests in. You invest in physical training, knowledge of the sport comes as she continues to grow in her sport. So this is the ins and outs of her sport strategies, tactics. And like I said, these increase as she continues in her sport. Mental training is this side of the sport where her confidence lives, where her skills to be able to navigate the normal parts of being an athlete like mistakes, pressure expectations, coming back from setbacks, all of those things lie in this category of mental training because. Every single athlete, every single level experiences. The normal parts of being an athlete, every single athlete experiences, what it feels like to feel nervous before a game, maybe even deal with some anxiety before a game. Has it challenging teammates or coaches that they have to navigate? They make mistakes. They have failures, all athletes experience these things, but not all athletes actually have the skills. To navigate them. And that's where the mental training comes in. So don't assume that your daughter's coach is going to teach these things. Most coaches do not know how to teach the mental side of the game or how to build confidence. So don't expect it's just going to come from your daughter's coach or come with time. These are skills that can be developed, just like physical skills. And so mental training allows athletes to use their mind to leverage their performance. It's their ability to navigate the normal things that are going to happen in their sports career. And it's allowing their minds to work for them to get them closer to their goals. So things like visualization, breath work. Shifting self-talk like all of those things are common keywords that fall under the umbrella of mental training, but also learning how to deal with emotions that are happening in sport. How to have conversations with teammates, with coaches, how to advocate for themselves. All of those things and how they feel about themselves, whether or not they believe in themselves, what they do when a negative thought comes into their head. All of that is mental training. And it is needed in order for your athlete to reach her potential in her sport. When we say reach her potential, we also just mean enjoy her sport for as long as she wants to and play. Well in practice and in games, a lot of times we hear parents are saying, yeah, she's playing really well in practice. When the pressure is off and there's really, you know, no expectation. And then she gets out in a game and it's completely different. Like she hesitates and she plays it safe. That is due to a lack of mental training. And so that is where that piece of the game is so, so important. So when to know, if your athlete is ready to start this type of work, let's get into it. Sign number one, she's entering into what we call this prime age. So 11 to 12 is when we start seeing athletes compete at a higher level. This is also where we see them start to compare a little bit more. They're starting to look around and realize that, oh, wow. Maybe I'm not as good as that person or I want to be, but I keep messing up. They also start to experience more of the normal parts of sport during this time. So 11 to 12. They start to experience a little more pressure, maybe a little more nerves, anxiety, mistakes are a bigger deal. All of those things start to happen around 11 and 12, but can actually happen a little bit younger. You know, when we see, eight, nine year olds competing at a high level and under a lot of pressure at that age, we also see some of that starting at that young age as well. However, this is kind of the breakdown that we have, right? So around five to 10 years old. So even starting as young as five is where we want athletes to become aware of the tools that are available to them. Like their breath goal, setting, visualization, affirmation, like those types of things, and just this awareness that their brain can work for them to help them pursue their goals. Around 11 to age 16 is when we see athletes that are ready to go, they're ready to start a more formal mental training program. So whether that be the elite mental game, which is our signature mental training program. Or they are engaging in some other sort of sports psychology or mental training, maybe with their team. Whatever it is. We see that they're ready to receive that information and really put it to use. Now if your athlete is older, age 17 or higher. Then mental training should be a part of her daily routine. This is one of those things. If your athlete is that age and she's competing at that level, typically if they're 17 or higher that they are competing. Out of high level. Then they are absolutely a hundred percent being faced with the normal things that athletes face at a higher rate and a higher level than most athletes. And so she needs to be doing mental training if she is not, then she is behind the ball on that. And so that is what we recommend. If she's between ages 11 and 12, this is when you can start to introduce, or even enter into a formal mental train program, like the elite mental game, which is really set up to facilitate very fast results in mental training to get that foundation going. Our program is specifically designed for athletes ages. 11 to 18 years old and gives them a very easy way to consume and apply mental training in a game format. So it's literally called the elite mental game because it is a game. And athlete's unlocked points and prizes, and it's very, user-friendly very tween and teen friendly as well. So that is where we recommend that athletes are engaging in mental training. If they're between, between the ages of 11 to 18, potentially even younger, if you're seeing some of these things in your athlete, which we'll talk about in the next part, or she's competing at a high level and needs some of these skills to navigate some of that pressure. Now number two. If your athlete is starting to experience the normal parts of being an athlete. So what I mean by that pressure nerves, comparison, mistakes, all of that is a normal part of being an athlete. So if she can only focus on the one to two things that she does wrong after a game, if she spirals off your mistakes, if she beats herself up, if nothing is ever good enough, if she's hesitating, she plays better in practices than in games, or she has big goals and she's not quite on the track to get there. Then these are all signs that her mental game needs work. However you don't need to wait until she's experiencing some negative things by not having skills. In order to start mental training, we actually recommend that mental training is front loaded. We want athletes to have these skills before they get into situations where they are spiraling or experiencing a lot of anxiety before they compete. And so that is where we see the most success is when athletes are equipped with those skills before they get into situation, it's kind of like. Giving your kids swimming lessons before you throw them into the deep end. Right? So it's giving them these skills before they need to use them. So either way, I mean, if you're like, oh, my athlete is there, she is struggling. And she doesn't have skills to navigate. Absolutely. Make sure that you set her up with mental training and we have resources for you. Number one, we have our free training for sports moms that's happening right now@trainhergame.com. Number two, our signature mentor training program called the elite mental game is open for enrollment. So you can check that out@trainhergame.com forward slash e m g and i will link to that in the show notes All right. Number three, this is the third sign that your athlete is ready for mental training. If she has goals. Now, if she has goals to level up, if she has goals to. Do anything in her sport, whether that be, she wants to make a certain team or could be on high school or even just have fun in her sport. Then she needs to make sure that she is also trading her mind to help her get closer to her goals. So making sure that she has goals, that she has a vision for what she wants to achieve, that she has a plan to get there. All of that falls into the category of mental training. And I also want you to consider for yourself what are your goals for her, even beyond the sport, things like you want her to be confident. You want to have fun. You want her to do her best. You want her to be able to. Be confident in other areas outside of her sport, like her academics, her social circle. When she is going for that job interview, when she's applying for colleges, like all of these life things that your athlete is going to face. You likely also want her to have these skills to be able to navigate the setbacks that are going to happen. In those situations. And so that is why it's so important that if she does have any sort of goals in her sport, that she needs to also make sure that she's training her mind so that she can get closer to that. And a goal without a plan is just a wish. So equip her and set her up for success, but giving her the tools that she needs to achieve her goals and your goals for her happiness and her confidence. So to recap this, and we're going to go into how you can talk to your daughter about mental training and how to get her on board. So to recap, this mental training is a non-negotiable for elite performance in order for your daughter to play her best, to have fun, enjoy her sport for as long as she wants to be in her sport. She needs to also be training the mental side of the game. So three signs that she's ready. Number one, she's between the ages of 11 to 18, right? If she's on the younger end, she's at like this prime spot to get her in. While she's just starting to experience these parts of her sports that are tricky to navigate. And if she's on the older end of that, she needs to make sure that she is training her mental game, or she's getting passed up by athletes who are. Number two, she's experiencing the normal parts of being an athlete. So things like perfectionism. Struggling to come back from mistakes, nerves, pressure, putting expectations on herself. All of those things are normal, but not all athletes know how to navigate them. And number three, if she has goals for herself in her sport. So whether that is to play at another level or to enjoy her sport, have fun, like make connections. All of those things are goals that need a plan and need mental training in order to get closer to them. Now let's talk about buy-in. So. Sometimes when parents talk to their athletes about mental training, They can be met with some resistance, not always some athletes. They're like, yeah, that's exactly what I need. Or like I heard, so-and-so talking about mental training and I was interested in it. Sometimes they're just like, oh yeah, this is exactly what I want to do because it's going to help me as an athlete. They just get it. Or they notice that they are struggling and they want skills. And so they're onboard automatically. Other times, some athletes, maybe you are recognizing like, Hey, you definitely need this. And how do you present that in a way where you're not. Making her feel like something is wrong with her or that this is going to be like counseling or therapy. I am not a counselor. I'm not a therapist. Our program does not claim to provide any counseling or therapy. Counseling and therapy. There is a absolute place for that type of work. However, the elite mental game is all about building mental training skills that are rooted in sports psychology. So there is a difference there, but sometimes that can get a little confusing for athletes because they're like, am I going to be talking about my feelings? You know, It's kind of lumped in that category of your mental and emotional health. So, how do we talk to our athletes to get them on board? I'm going to give you three strategies. And the first one is connected to what I just got done talking about. Connect it to her larger goals. So if your athlete has stated some goals in her sport, and again, whether that be something like play on another team or another level, or it's, I want to have fun. I want to enjoy this. Those are goals And you can use mental training to help her get her closer to her goals. So it could sound something like this. Hey, you really dedicated a lot of time to basketball. I can tell that you really love it and you want to go far. I'm here to help support you in your goals, because you said you want to play in college or make the varsity team or whatever her goal is. I think that the mental side of the game is something we can hone in to allow you to reach your goals. Now if your daughter is motivated by challenges, you could present it a little more like this. Hey, you said that you want to be the best ball handler on the team, the best athletes in any sport do more than just physical training. Have you considered also working on your mental game? So the key here is to connect it to something that they've already stated that they want. So be paying attention to what they're saying they want in their sport. Here's another way that you can get her onboarded, mental training, show her examples of other athletes using mental training. So if you need a little more credibility, ask her who her favorite athletes are at the professional or college level. And then now Google those athletes find YouTube videos, podcasts of, them speaking of how they became great, guaranteed. At some point, they're going to be talking about the mental side of the game or mental toughness or being focused. All of those things are in the category of mental training and also I'll speak from our business. That when we have athletes come into our programs and speak so professional and college athletes. A hundred percent of the ones that have come in and we've had a lot of professional and college athletes come in and speak to our athletes. They talk about how they would not be able to achieve their success or enjoy their sport without their mindset and without training that part of the game. And most of them say, wow, this is so amazing that you are all learning this right now in middle school and high school. I didn't learn this until I was in college and I wish I would've learned it younger. So. This is a really useful strategy to bring some credibility in and bring in a little closer to home. Does she have an athlete that she admires? Maybe just on a team that's higher than her. And I want you to ask her, Hey, what do you think makes that athlete so good. And often it's more than just physical. She will likely say things about how she's just like unstoppable and she's a great leader and she probably will say things that are outside of the physical part and you can pull those out. So point out those mental traits like leadership, the fearless mentality, she rises under pressure. Those are the skills that separates athletes. And so you can be listening about who she admires, who she looks up to, who she is talking about. And it's more than just physical. And so start to point those out. All right. Here's another strategy that you can use have her listen to this podcast, not this specific episode, but our podcast. We have some selected episodes that will help with the buy-in for your daughter. So. Two episodes specifically that come to mind. Are the episode number 56. So you might have to scroll back a little bit for this, but we will link it in the show notes. This is where I interview athletes who have been through our program, the elite mental game. And these are athletes who are talking about. How much they have grown through the program, how it's made them a better athlete. And these are athletes who are now going on. a lot of them are varsity level athletes, but also now at this point they are playing in college. And so this is a great episode to listen to other athletes. Listen to her peers. Talk about the importance of mental training. Also one from me. So episode 1 61, it's the episode right after this one. I talked directly to athletes and I talk about how mental training can be their biggest competitive advantage, what it is, what it isn't. I break it down. So if she just needs to hear it from somebody, other than you having listened to that episode, we also have a website that she can go to that specifically, this page is specifically for her. So I will link that as well. It tells exactly what this whole mental training is and how it makes her a better athlete. So we've got a lot of resources for you So that you are not the only one to help your athlete in this direction of working on her mental game. Okay. Here's a bonus strategy. I think I said I was going to go over three. Well, you've got a bonus. This one is great because. It just helps release some of the pressure. So this strategy is to release the burden of trying to get her to buy in. Now, one of the things that is really powerful about the way that we approach mental training app, you leak predator. Is that we bring the mom and the parent into this process. And the reason why we do that is that we don't want you to underestimate the power of you changing your approach. We talk about how there's two things that are in your control. You provide the opportunities and you shape the environment. You provide the opportunities for physical and mental training. You shape the environment by what you say, and also how you show up as a sports parent. And again, that is what makes our program so effective. You will find nothing else. Like it. And it's also what makes it so special. Because when your internal world shifts and you learn what to say and not say, and she starts to play with confidence. Now, she also is releasing the pressure. So we've had a lot of moms come into the program and their daughters aren't quite bought in yet. And so they're just maybe not quite there, but moms are like, Hey, I also want to learn how to be a supportive sports mom, knowing that the changes that you make and your approach to your athlete daughter actually do make a difference in how she shows up the program. Is also designed to get very quick results and help your athlete buy in right away. We start right away with a challenge that she engages in that is very short. And it's a challenge that teaches her how to overcome mistakes with our tool called the snapback routine. So she gets in, she starts going right away. And she learns a tool that she can learn actually within a couple hours, less than not actually, or she can spread it out over the week and she can walk away with this really tangible tools. So athletes buy in very quickly when they get into the program. So release some of your pressure that you have on yourself to get her, to buy him. A lot of moms just jump in knowing that, Hey, my daughter will get bought in. And the work that I'm doing on my end is equally important. In fact, we had a mom the other day say this in a group. She said, I ended the program last year, as I was trying to help my daughter through some of her mental struggles while competing, while she still needs to finish the program. I felt that my growth as a parent was amazing. It actually got me to take care of myself. And as a result, I actually launched my own affiliate marketing business. And so that is also the power of. Your part in all of this. You can grow as a sports parent, you can approach your athlete differently. And the way that you do that actually impacts her confidence, how she shows up. When you start to know what to say and not say, and then also taking care of yourself. This mom is doing an amazing job of modeling confidence, modeling going after her dreams modeling, going after what she wants. Despite any of the challenges that may stand in her way. So don't underestimate your power. And if you're not familiar with the elite mental game there are two parts to it there's a part for you there's a part for your athlete and athletes come in at different stages of readiness sometimes athletes come in and they hit the ground running and they just go through their part of the program on their own and then moms and parents are going through their part of the program and there are intentional opportunities for you to to connect throughout the program. Some athletes and parents do the program more closely connected. So they pick a day of the week or a couple of days of the week where they're going to have a date together. They're going to work on their sides of the program and they're doing it closely connected. We see the parents of our younger athletes doing it in that way, just to make sure the athletes are tracking along. And then sometimes, like I said, we see moms and parents come into the program and their athletes aren't quite ready to start yet, but they want to get going right away. So they want to learn as much as they can to help support their athlete, knowing that their knowledge and their perspective can shape their environment and shape the way that they're interacting with their athletes. So there you have it moms. I hope that this was helpful to give you an idea of when to know if your athlete is ready to engage in mental training. So remember, number one, she is in that prime age of 11 to 18 years old. If she's experiencing the normal parts of being an athlete, she needs skills to be able to navigate it. And also if she has goals in her sport, and then I give you some strategies to help talk about. Mental training. How talk about even the elite mental game. With your athlete and get her on board with this idea of mental training, not to get started. I have a couple of resources for you. So number one, our free training for sports moms. So you can find that. At train her game.com And not training you learn our proven, unstoppable athlete method and key strategies that you can implement right now to build your athlete's confidence. That's also where we talk about the elite mental game. So you'll learn all about the program and you get a special discount to join when you attend that training. And speaking of which the elite mental game enrollment is open right now. So this is our signature mental training program where athletes learn step-by-step how to build their mental game and also where parents learn how to best support them. So that can be found@trainhergame.com forward slash E M G. All right. moms i'm coach Bree, and i will see you in the next episode of the racing elite competitors podcast