Helping Athletes Overcome Rigid Expectations
Expectations are the "shoulds" that athletes uphold, usually about: outcomes, quality of performance, personal statistics, and how others should treat them. For example, a common expectation is: "I should win easily today." The "shoulds" set up your athletes for disappointment or frustration if they don't achieve these personal demands.
Once you have identified your athletes' expectations, they must agree to discard them, which is easier said than done. Why? Your athletes have learned–in some cases for many years–to hold tightly to their expectations about performance, statistics, and outcomes. You'll want to help your athletes replace their outcome expectations with simple mini-goals or objectives that will lead to greater composure.
How to Help Athletes Be Let Go of Mistakes
As a coach or parent, focusing on your athletes' observable behavior of shutting down or crying is not the best solution. You have to address your athletes' view or beliefs about their mistakes. When frustrated or angry, athletes' minds are glued to the past. You want to help your kids focus on the present and not dwell on the past. Your players must learn to move on to the next play, shot, routine, or point.
A good place to start is to ask your athletes to write down their anger-causing thoughts soon after practice or the completion of competition. Please allow them to "cool down" first and then ask them to recount what they were thinking right after the mistake. Help them to recall the specific thoughts that lead to frustration or anger.More: Set Sports Goals You'll Actually Achieve
How athletes think about their mistakes is what can cause emotional pain, not the mistake itself. Your athletes will want to replace the anger-causing statements with composure-boosting statements that help them let go of the anger by instilling greater self-acceptance.
This is a difficult step for most kids because at this stage their learned behavior is self-criticism. The new statements will soon begin to interrupt the old pattern of anger-causing thoughts and instill a new way of thinking about mistakes. This will create a better emotional reaction.sports camp to improve your game.