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The Psychology of Athletes and the Game of Life

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March 14, 2017

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Mental Grit spoke with former lacrosse standout Jake Ferrin about how the psychology of athletes helps shape them by learning mental skills in their younger playing days, can help them to better transition into adolescence.

The long-term positive effects of participating in sports are well known. Playing sports can teach a number of life skills as well as promote a lifestyle of health and fitness. It can even be financially lucrative for a few. However, not much has been said about the lifelong psychological and social benefits that come from a life of sports participation. These effects last well beyond the childhood and adolescent years in which sports participation is widespread and popular with the future leaders of tomorrow. Through sport, young people have a platform to gain confidence that can help them realize or even exceed what they might think is the limit of their potential. Most importantly it teaches how with success and failure at an early age.

Dealing with Failure

Like in life where everybody succeeds and fails, in sports ‘you win some and you LOSE some’ – failure is inevitable necessary, not only in the win-loss column but also in developing the necessary skill (mental and physical) and becoming a better athlete. Sports is one of the first instances in life where an individual encounters failure. The life lessons from tough losses while competing in sports helps prepare an individual to deal with life’s disappointments.

“It helps to better deal with things not going your way because in sports you lose games sometimes, you’re not gonna always be the one to win, you bounce back from losses, you learn from those losses and that it’s not the end of the world.”

The p
sychological connection between the sports world and the ‘real world’.

Sports is seen by some as a world within the real world but the connection between both worlds is palpable hence the idioms – “Life is a game,” “The game of life”, and so on. The psychology of athletes is a bit different from regular folks. The physique is noticeably different but the elevated levels of confidence and ego can go undetected, especially for athletes who benefitted from sports psychology training.

Ferrin spoke about the connection.

“The mindset definitely carries over, it’s the same thing just different situations. As long as you learn how to control your thoughts and your mental state in one area of your life it easily translates to every aspect of your life,” Ferrin added.

A young athlete can be even better prepared for the ‘real world’ if they receive sports psychology training while competing. Mental skills training not only can aid optimum sports performance but also better groom young people for the challenges of the real world.

“By getting into the mental state to succeed and controlling my emotions, life turned out to be similar to a lacrosse game as a kid. I learned a little bit of the mind techniques when I was playing which carried over and helped me in my adult life,“ said Jake Ferrin.

So, for the caring parents out there who want the absolute best for their kids, having a sports psychology consultant will give them a significant head start in learning to win the game of life.

Do you relate to anything in this article? Let us know how you feel about this topic in the comments section below. Need a head start in the game of life? Let us know and our team will help you!

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