Raising Elite Competitors

What To Say When Your Athlete Is Super Hard On Herself

February 20, 2024 Coach Bre Season 2 Episode 183
Raising Elite Competitors
What To Say When Your Athlete Is Super Hard On Herself
Show Notes Transcript

Are you often at a loss for what to say when your young athlete is overly critical of herself? It’s a common challenge faced by sports parents. In this episode, I share practical strategies for sports parents to effectively support and encourage their young athletes.

Here’s what’s covered in this episode:

  • A member’s inspiring story of her daughter’s triumph in basketball.
  • Understanding and empathizing with your daughter’s negative emotions.
  • The impact of our responses, rooted in our own upbringing.
  • Practical strategies for effective communication with your athlete.
  • The importance of allowing space for emotional processing.
  • How quick fixes can inadvertently lower long-term confidence.
  • Empowering your athlete with mental training skills.
  • Nurturing an environment for emotional intelligence and resilience.

For more insights on how to support your athlete when she’s hard on herself, listen to the full episode. You’ll gain a deeper understanding and more tools to help your young athlete thrive. Don’t miss out on this valuable conversation – tune in now!

🎧 Listen to the full episode here: Buzzsprout

Episode Highlights: 

[00:00] Helping athletes overcome self-criticism and build confidence. Learn more about the challenge of athletes being overly critical of themselves and how sports moms can help them navigate this experience.

[02:09] Helping athletes cope with negative emotions. Discover how parents’ own experiences with processing negative emotions may influence how they respond to their child’s emotions, and that this can lead to unintentionally reinforcing negative patterns.

[04:28] Supporting children’s emotional well-being. Learn more about the importance of allowing your daughter to process her emotions.

[09:13] Helping athletes process emotions after disappointment. The importance of recognizing and validating an athlete’s emotions, rather than dismissing or minimizing them.

[11:18] Supporting athletes through mental challenges. Strategies for athletes to communicate with their parents, as well as tips for moms of young athletes to help them navigate their daughter’s emotional struggles during athletic events.

 Next Steps:

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Welcome back to the racing elite competitors podcast. I'm coach, breep a mental performance coach for girl athletes. And I'm thrilled that you are here now, whether you are just getting, going, getting your feet wet on this whole sports mom journey, or maybe you have a ton of seasons under your belt, you are welcome here because this podcast is for you to help you know, how to raise a mentally strong, confident girl athlete. And that is exactly what we're talking about today. As we figure out how to navigate this situation that you likely have found yourself in as a sports bump. When your athlete is super hard on herself. So when she's beating herself up or she's really critical of how she performed and she can't quite see the positive, she can't see the good that she did. All she can do is focus on those negative things. And you're like, come on, did we watch the same game? Or you just keep, why do you keep focusing on that? we're going to talk about how you can help your athlete through those experiences so that she comes out on the other end confident. And so that what you are saying, isn't unintentionally making the situation worse because we sometimes. Max can do that. All right. Before we jump into the episode, I do want to give a shout out to a mom in our community. Her name is Nicole and she posted this the other day. She said big wind to share. My daughter had her first basketball tournament with a new coaching team after a confidence sucking coach and team last year, she did amazing, confident, strong leader on the floor and on the bench bounce back from mistakes. Well, I am so thankful for this program, both for myself and for her. I can't wait to see her continued growth. Thank you so excited for you, Nicole, and for your athlete. And I see this a lot on the podcast. This is where This is where it comes together. It's like peanut butter and jelly. People are peanut butter and chocolate. If you're like me, that's even a better combo. When your athlete has the skills to show up with confidence, she has the skills to navigate tough coaches, teammates, playing lack of playing time. Mistakes, all those things. She can shift herself talk. She knows how to come back from mistakes when she has those skills. Plus. You know exactly how to support her. That is where we see the biggest growth and that's why they leave mental game works. So, Nicole, I'm so happy that you've been experiencing this and your athlete has too. Keep it up. All right. Before we get into our topic of how to help your athlete, when she's hard on herself, if you do have a little bit of time, make sure that you are following the podcast, this helps us out a lot. It also helps you out because you are not missing an episode. And while you're at it, if you want to read and review the podcast, that would mean the world to us. And if you want to take it a step further, You know, get like the A-plus on the chart. Share one of your favorite episodes with the sports mom. All of these things to help grow our community helped grow our reach and also help us so that we can bring on amazing guests for you. All right, moms let's do this. One of the hardest things as a sports mom. Things that can actually literally leave you. Speechless is after something happens and your daughter is beating herself up. Maybe she had a tough loss and she's only focusing on the negative. Maybe she is comparing herself to other people. And she's the worst one on the team. Maybe she didn't even make the team she's disappointed or displaying something, didn't go her way or she's not getting the plane time that she wants. These situations. Are so tricky because here's the number one reason why. I'm going to call myself out in this. We have a hard time sitting with our daughters negative emotions. That's really what it comes down to. We have a hard time seeing her upset. We have a hard time seeing her sad. Sometimes we're like this isn't even justified. You should not be so hard on yourself right now. And then we also worry about what this might mean for her, for the future. Is she going to keep going down a path of negativity? Is this going to impact her love of the sport she can burn out? Is she going to start just, you know, being really negative or even depressed overall. And so we really have a hard time with this and it comes a little bit from a place of fear. Fear and a little bit from likely how we were allowed to, or how we did process these negative emotions ourselves. In our parents' presence. Now that's a little bit deep for this podcast, but I do want to mention it because a lot of how we respond to our kids is likely as a result of how we were responded to. Growing up if you played sports or even if you didn't, that likely is now kind of repeating itself. And so when we see our athlete in these situations, Our tendency. Is to want to fix it, right? We are moms. We can fix anything. And so we want to fix it. We want to get her back to being positive right away. And we want her to feel better about herself. We don't want to have this like negativity that impacts like the dinner table and now she's not talking and now everybody's in a bad mood. Okay. And so we're like, let's just, let's just turn this around as fast as we can. And again, this comes from a very well-intentioned place. However, doing this and doing it quickly. Especially when she is like raw and it just, whatever happened, just happened and she's trying to process. This actually lowers her confidence longterm. And here's why. Your athlete. Is experiencing very normal emotions. And although we might not agree with. You know that she should be heavily impacted by some of the situation she's in. And we're like, come on. That's not that big of a deal or like, oh, really? Like, why can't you see it this way? And we're like, oh gosh. But to her, it is to her. She is experiencing the real emotions associated with whatever it is that she's facing. And so when we tell her things like, well, focus on the positive, or it really wasn't that bad, or we're just trying to kind of minimize what emotions she's feeling. We're actually giving her this message that she shouldn't be feeling how she is feeling right now, which is normal. And confidence at the root of it is trusting yourself. Your daughter. When she trusts herself and trust her feelings and trust her emotions, that has confidence. And so when we are telling her, okay, you actually shouldn't feel like this right now, even though it's a normal response. And also. And when you're around me. You know, the subconscious message, I can't handle you being like this. That actually lowers her confidence and it will actually lower her. Chances of continuing to come to you in these moments as for safe space. Because the fact that she is sharing with you, is huge. You know, there, there might come a time where she doesn't. And the difference between athletes who do and athletes, who don't are the ones that feel comfortable to be able to be themselves around you and be able to express the wide range of emotions that are all part of the human experience. And so this actually does when we just kind of try and fix it and we tell her like, don't feel that way. You know, it wasn't that bad, all of those things and all those things are true, probably wasn't that bad. And, you know, there were probably so many amazing things that happened and she is an amazing person. And, you know, she is a great teammate, all those things that we tell her in, you know, with the intention of trying to just like make her mood turn around. Really is more for us than it is for her. Because we actually have a hard time seeing her like this. Okay. And that lowers her confidence. So the best thing that we can do instead. I actually want to give you an example of, of this like kind of to bring it home a little bit. It's sort of like when you have a bad day, I had one the other day. It was like, things just weren't going right from the beginning. And like, I was late, the kids weren't cooperating getting out the door. We were like rushing to get to the bus. I was overwhelmed. Like the house was a mess. I go through the day just kind of feeling like, Ugh, and then I got some bad news from, you know, from a friend and then I had dinner like kind of fell through, I forgot some stuff for dinner and it was like, okay, do we just go to Chipotle? I don't know. It was just kind of one of those days where it was like, it's not great. And if I were to explain to my partner like this whole bad day situation, and really, I just want to tell him, like, this is what's going on and this is why it's been a terrible day. And my husband already come back and say things like, well, it really isn't that bad. Like you should just look at the bright side. Like at least we have a house, at least we have. You know, at least our kids are healthy and, you know, just kind of like all those things are true. You know, and, but if I would to hear that from him and he was like, oh, come on, like, you're fine. I would be pretty angry, you know, I wouldn't be like, come on. I can you just listen. You know, what I would really want to hear in that moment is it sounds like you had a bad day. You know, what can I do to support? What can I do to help? where can we go from here? And just acknowledging that like, sounds like you had a bad day. Sounds like that was hard for you. Honestly, even just saying out loud, it kind of like gives a little bit of relief in my body. And I'm just telling you of this experience. You know, as an example, And it's the same thing that happens with our daughters when she's coming to us. And she's telling things like telling you things like. I didn't get set at all and I miss my serve and now like, people are disappointed in me. You know when we're like, no, no, no. That it was fine. Like you, other people may mistakes. All of that. That actually that response is not as effective as if we were just to literally state back to our athlete. You're disappointed that you missed your serve on the point. Like literally just stating back the facts. You know, you wanted a better game than what happened out there. I hear you. That would be hard. Okay. And we are not agreeing with her that like, oh, you're the worst person on the team. You know, we're not saying that, but same things like you feel like you are not as good as many other players. Is that what I'm hearing? Yeah. Okay. And just naming it, just putting it out there actually helps her process that emotion. Rather than just push it down and get these subconscious messages that she shouldn't be feeling this way or that you can't like hold space for her emotions. Okay. And so here, that's kind of one of the key parts of how we can help our athlete navigate this. And so what we want to do instead of just kind of like getting her to be positive right away and right. Citing her. I heard that term on a podcast. The Glennon Doyle podcast. You know, right. Citing her like look at the price side. Okay. So we actually, we don't have to do that. What we can do instead is first ground yourself. Pay attention to what's coming up for you. That really is, is number one. Okay. When we see our kids hurting, when we see them upset, it. It triggers emotions in us. Okay. So just be aware and see and recognize like, okay, I am feeling. Upset because she's upset. Okay. Remind yourself that it's okay for her to be disappointed is not the end of the world as she is not going to, you know, this doesn't reflect her 30 year old self, not being able to handle challenges. If she's disappointed in this moment. In fact, the more that you can help her process that feeling the more she's actually going to be well equipped to handle. More of what life comes her way as she continues to grow. Okay. Now here's some really tangible strategies. The one that one that I just already mentioned, right. Report back. What you hear. you know, instead of trying to make her feel better by saying that it wasn't that bad, just report back. Like you're kind of just a reporter. You know, what I'm hearing you say is that you wish you would've got more playing time. Yeah. Okay. Instead of going down the rabbit hole of like, yeah, I don't know why coach did that, or I don't know why they, I don't know why that person is playing and just like try and make her feel better by like bashing coaches and bashing teammates. That's not good. Okay. But just stating back the facts. All right. And reporting back. And when she tells you, yeah, well it's like that, but it's more, this validate her experience. Validate the emotions that she is feeling, you're feeling frustrated. You're feeling confused. You're feeling overwhelmed. Okay. And when she starts to go into these like big catastrophizing things, like I'm the worst one, everybody hates me. A phrase that I love. That I learned from Dr. Lisa Demore is. You know, that's not true or you and I both know that's not true, but it would be really tough to feel that way. All right. So what's acknowledging that like, Hey, that's not true. But also that's how it feels right now. And it would be really tough to feel that way. All right. And then this other one that I love, it's just great. One for your back pocket is. Do you want me to listen because I totally can. I am here for you to tell me whatever you want and let's just work this out. Or do you want me to help you come up with some solutions here? All right. And that gives her the option of like, no, I just want you to listen, mom. I don't want you to try and solve all my problems right now. And most of the time. That's what athletes want. A funny story inside. What kind of funny? Inside the elite mental game. One of the moms told me the other day that her daughter was kind of venting to her about something that happened in a game. And mom started kind of giving some advice. Telling her perspective of what she should do. And her daughter stopped her and said, mom, I thought that you were supposed to ask. If, you just want to listen or if I just want you to listen, or if. You want me to give you advice? And one was like, oh yeah, actually that's true. Do you want me to listen or do you want me to give advice? And her daughter was like, I just want you to listen right now. All right. And that's the power of being able to have open lines of communication around that. That her daughter actually knows a little bit of, this is what my mom is working on inside the program too. And that really helps because now. She's not going to shut down. She's not gonna be like, mom, you have to tell me that you're my mom or mom. You don't understand the ball's in her court to decide like, you know, do I want to hear this right now? Or do I just want to listen? And she might come back. Like those of you with teens? No, it might be like 11 o'clock at night that they want to talk about all of it. And they want some advice. But during that time, just open the space and hold that for her. Okay. The other piece of this is ensure that she knows how to productively process disappointments loss, bad games. Like these are part of being an athlete. And so if your athlete does not have a post game routine, if she doesn't have the skills to evaluate, if she maybe has some like twinges of perfectionism. And so she's super critical of herself, but it doesn't know what to do with any of that. Then that's really tough. Like you can do your part to hold the space and validate, but she also needs skills to help her through that. Right. And that's exactly what she learns when she has mental training skills. Those are the exact type of situations that all athletes face, but not all athletes have the skills to navigate. And we talk about our approach to mental training is that you have your part and part of your role is to shape the environment for her, by what you say, but also provide her with the opportunities to have access to these skills. So that she can be the athlete that knows how to productively process that isn't constantly beating yourself up. That doesn't rely on you or her coach for validation that she actually knows how to productively say like, okay, I miss that server that doesn't make me. A bad person. You know, I'm I messed up, but that doesn't mean that I am a terrible player. Right. Those are skills that athletes can learn. And so to learn how you can give those skills to your athlete. That's exactly what we teach inside. Our free training for sports bumps. That's at train her game.com. So I registered for that. It's like a 40, 45 minute training, plus some Q and a, and we break it all down for you on how you can strengthen your athlete daughter's mental game so that she has these skills too. All right, moms, hopefully this was helpful. This is a topic that is near and dear to my heart because you are going to be in it. Multiple times as your athlete goes through her. You know, athletic experience. So key takeaways here. Hold the space for your athlete. Be aware of the emotional triggers that come up in you when your athlete is having a hard time. Report back what she is saying, validate her experience and make sure you have those phrases in your back pocket. You know, that's true or you and I both know that's not true but it would be tough to feel that way. And you want me to listen? Totally can. Or do you want me to help you come up with solutions and then finally make sure that she has skills to be able to navigate some of these tough times as well? Alright, I am coach Bre, I'm into performance coach for girl athletes, and I will see you in the next episode of the raising elite competitors podcast.