How to Develop Mentally Tough Young Athletes
Developing winning attitudes toward competition
One of the highest compliments an athlete can get is the label "mentally tough." Mental toughness isn’t a quality people are born with. Rather, it includes a set of learned attitudes and ways of viewing competitive situations in productive ways.
Coaches and parents are in an ideal position to help young athletes develop a healthy philosophy about achievement and an ability to tolerate setbacks when they occur. By teaching mental toughness lessons to kids, adults can give them a priceless gift that will benefit them in many areas of everyday life. Here are some specific attitudes that can be communicated to young athletes.
1. Sports should be fun.
- Emphasize that sports and other activities in life are enjoyable for the playing, whether you win or lose.
- Athletes should be participating, first and foremost, to have fun.
- Try to promote enjoyment of many activities in and of themselves so that winning is not a condition for enjoyment.
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