Everyday Mental Preparation

21 Oct

I was going over some notes for a presentation I’m giving at a coaches conference in a couple of weeks titled: Mental Preparation for Athletes. The main point of my session is for coaches to create a secure practice and team environment where athletes can achieve a desired state of ‘relaxed focus’.

Simply put, when athletes feel secure with their coach’s leadership, their team’s acceptance of each team member, as well as with their own capabilities on and contribution to their team, they become more confident about their abilities. When they are more confident, they are more relaxed. When they are more relaxed, they are able to focus solely on the task at hand. The end result? A personal peak performance as an athlete and a spike in their self esteem.

What occurs to me is that as parents, we should also spend time on the ‘mental’ preparation of our children. We should strive to create a home environment where we are in balance with school work, extra-curricular activities and down-time.  A place where the positive cycle of leadership (parenting) leads to acceptance (security) which leads to increased confidence (self esteem), which allows them to achieve relaxed focus (productivity).

How? A few easy tips for us all:

  • Send them off to school each day as unhurried and anger-free as possible. No matter what happens before they leave for the bus, let them know they are loved and that you’re looking forward to seeing them at the end of the school day (lie if you have to).
  • Understand that many of our kids hold it together all day long at school – best behavior, focused in class and more social or obedient than they are programmed to be for so long. Allow for them to take out their days’ stresses when they come home from school (or practice). Give them space (don’t start nagging) and down-time (homework will still be there in 30 minutes).
  • Be supportive of their teachers and coaches! High anxiety comes for kids when their parents think (and can’t refrain from saying) they know more than the other important and trusted adults in their lives.
  • Model good organizational behavior so they can see that preparation leads to a relaxed state and efficiency. Stop stuffing too much into their days.

Will it work? Sometimes…..but anything we can do to increase the way in which our kids think and feel about themselves – any shot we have to increase their self-esteem, is worth a try.
Warm Regards,


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