After a Big Win or Loss – What Parents Can Do

By |2021-09-28T22:11:56+00:00May 9th, 2018|Parents|

Had a pretty great opportunity to sit down with a group of water polo parents this past week to discuss what they could do to support their athletes with the upcoming state tournament here in Utah. A few really impactful topics and discussions came out of this session and I wanted to share a few of the because of how profound they were and I hope as a parent you will be able to glean some insight. In these group environments, I simply hope to help the parents put some attention on their influence and deliberately use that influence to help their athletes accomplish their performance potential. My biggest aim is to expand their current thought process and give them an opportunity to do things differently to accomplish a greater aim. These are a few takeaways from the performance parent session. How can we as parents respond to a big win at the state tournament? Note: I had a few of the parents give me some strange looks when I brought up this question because, as they mentioned, its obvious that they would celebrate with them. However, I challenged the group to think about how their behavior in [...]

Softball Mom! Parenting a Self Motivated Athlete

By |2021-09-23T21:39:43+00:00November 27th, 2017|Parents|

Do you consider yourself a 'softball mom' or any sport parent? This take a look at this article to help your athletes achieve greater self motivation! Parents, guess what? You must know at this point that you are one of the biggest influencers of your child's life than anybody else, especially if your child is under 11 years old. With this in mind, you have the power to help your athlete think about their athletic experience in a way that will encourage motivation, growth, and development. Before I get into this tactic of interacting with you child athlete, I will say it can be very difficult to integrate because it involves you changing the way you talk to your kids about their experiences. This means you might need to change. If you want your child to level up you will have to level up yourself. So what’s this tactic? In the most simple of terms we want to start shifting the way you praise your child from praising talent, outcomes (scores, points scored, winning, etc), and accomplishment to praising effort, work, engaging in the process, and failing with effort. Ok, so you might be thinking something along the [...]

Being Present

By |2017-09-27T15:07:44+00:00September 27th, 2017|Athletes, Coaches, Parents|

Take a moment right now and look at the people around you. Where are they? Are they being present, engaged in what is happening right now OR are they in their heads, working some problem they have in life or possibly worrying about something they have no control over? Are they in the future dreaming of the life they want for themselves and their families? As mental coaches, we talk a lot about this idea of being present in practice, competition, and engagement in sport and life as a whole. We talk about being ‘in the now’ and engaging in what is happening moment to moment. We ask our athletes to remind themselves, ’where you at?’ as practice in mindfulness throughout their day to day life. But why? You see, there is something about the present moment that provides a sense of confidence, of passion, of drive that is unlike any other. You could call it ‘the zone’ or ‘on fire’ but I am sure that everyone who reads this article has been present at some point in their lives. Kids in the 21st century know the present moment well through the use of video games where, if [...]

Tools to Increase Effective Practice

By |2017-09-18T13:34:36+00:00September 18th, 2017|Athletes, Coaches, Parents|

A swimmer approached me a few months ago saying that she did not make any progress in practice over the 3 months leading up to her state meet. She was not seeing her times drop in practices and just didn’t believe that she could do anything substantial at the upcoming state meet. I asked her what she was working on at that point to help her go faster. She started going down the list of technique items for each stroke and a variety of strategy items. I asked her to start writing these down on a LARGE white board and she covered it with everything that she was working on over those 3 months. After she wrote these items she looked at it and I asked her how she felt looking at the whiteboard. She said she felt overwhelmed, sick, and somewhat disappointed. Disappointed, I asked… “Ya, I am disappointed that even though I have been working on all of this stuff, there is not one thing that I can go to my coach with and say that I got it down!”. Have you ever felt like this before? Interestingly enough, you are not alone! As performers, we [...]

How To Embrace the CHAOS

By |2017-09-14T08:30:22+00:00September 14th, 2017|Athletes, Coaches, Parents|

Would you ever deliberately choose to do something that would cause pain, torment, or a feeling of being broken? Do you know how to embrace the chaos training throws at you? You hear it all the time in endurance sports, “Why would an athlete choose to put themselves through so much pain?” But it’s that kind of mindset that sets those athletes apart from the rest. They welcome pain, they welcome chaos, because in their minds, without it, they wouldn’t get better, and they wouldn’t be able to foresee events that leave others broken. As mental skills coaches, we could not agree more. Here are a couple of strategies to help you through those adverse times. Things get shaken up whether you want them to or not, and these techniques will be there as your sword and shield as you embrace the chaos. The Shakeup So a couple of weeks ago, I was at a yoga. Yoga and Sports go hand-in-hand. At the beginning of class, the instructor, a lady in her upper 20s, started to talk about the intention we might want to set for class. Whether that be to enhance your present moment focus - by focusing [...]

Minimizing Distractions: Help Yourself Achieve Greatness

By |2017-08-02T17:20:12+00:00August 2nd, 2017|Athletes, Coaches, Parents|

So, if we're talking about minimizing distractions, we have to talk about practice. Imagine you're the top golfer in the world, what does practice look like to you? Are you moseying around, eating a donut, scrolling through Instagram, and chatting with your friends about his previous night? Of Course Not, You're Focused. You're out on the course with your coach or caddy, going through your swing or talking about the weather. You're examining the greens and hitting each shot, undistracted. No phone or no outside chitchat. Only the essentials. This is how you get done what Cal Newport likes to call “Deep Work”. He’s a professor at Georgetown in Computer Science and wrote the book call “Deep Work”. The book is all about minimizing distractions and reducing your time spent multitasking so you can give your best effort. How distracted are you? You see, the average worker is interrupted every 11 minutes, during any specific task. Guess how long it takes to get back on track after they are distracted? 25 minutes! It would take them, on average, 25 minutes to return to the original task they were working on after being interrupted. Gloria Mark, Professor at the [...]

Developing and Facilitating Team Cohesion: Gottman’s 5:1

By |2017-06-13T14:46:47+00:00June 13th, 2017|Athletes, Coaches, Parents|

Everyone is always wondering about developing and facilitating team cohesion; Always wondering about how to build relationships and team chemistry. Whether it’s at work, at school, in a team, or with their partner, strong and healthy relationships create more productive and positive environments. Do you know how you interact with your team? Gottman’s 5:1 Dr. Gottman, professor emeritus at University of Washington, found that in healthy marriages, the ratio of positive interactions to negative interactions is 5:1. Especially during times of conflict, the interactions between the two individuals was 5:1. On the other hand, it is 5 times easier to break someone down with a negative interaction like blame, anger, aggression or hostility; Which ultimately leads to hurting someone’s feelings. Are you aware of your ratio? If you’re truly interested in developing and facilitating better team cohesion, this strategy is for you. 51 Cents: Keep Track of Your Ratio John Brubaker, a sport psychology consultant and ESPN radio personality, used to coach Division III and NAIA Lacrosse. He came across Gottman’s ratio and knew that if he wanted to take his team chemistry to the next level, he was going to have to start keeping an eye on his [...]

Back to Basics: Implement The 80/20 Rule Today!

By |2017-06-08T12:29:44+00:00June 8th, 2017|Athletes, Coaches, Parents|

Recently, Mental Grit was awarded the opportunity to interview two of the top sport dietitians in the nation. Toni Tillett (Washington State University) and Kari Oliver (University of Notre Dame) were gracious enough to answer a few questions and divulge some juicy nutritional information. A healthy body and mind are essential to peak performance, which is where mental conditioning and nutrition intersect. The interesting piece about this interview was how basic mental skills principles have such a primary role in the execution of effective nutrition. Get back to basics and keep yourself mentally and physically strong. Back to Basics If I were to ask you to name three healthy foods, could you do it? Of course you can! We all know what healthy and unhealthy food is. The question I presented to these two dietitians was, “If we all know what the healthy foods are, why don’t we eat them?” Kari answered, “It’s because of our habits. Food is a huge part of everything that we do. It’s around families, celebrations, birthdays, births and deaths, and basically everything. For a long time, people have associated healthy with not being as tasty or flavorful. They’re not going to choose the healthier option because if they have [...]

The Young Athlete – Understanding Young Athletes as a Parent

By |2016-09-30T21:33:00+00:00September 30th, 2016|Parents|

In youth sport, you will typically see young athletes land on a personality spectrum from a results-oriented mindset to a growth-oriented mindset. In each situation, a parent will need to respond differently in order to help that particular child. The funny thing about this is even within families, a parent can have children who land on the extremes of either side of this spectrum changing even within the different sport the children play. Yes, this sounds a bit complicated at first but by the end of this article, you will know the different types of mindsets a child will have and how to support them. The most important part of this is having the parent know how to optimize the interactions with their child athlete to support them in the way THEY need it in that moment. The Results-oriented Young Athlete This athlete is highly engaged in competition and loves the chance to show how great they are in a competitive environment. They are very driven and have that competitive fire behind what they do. However, this type of young athlete also has a hard time going the distance in sport. They are prone to burn out and [...]

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