Most parents and coaches think that the main purpose of kids’ sports psychology is to make them winners in their chosen sports. The outcome of sports psychology for kids may well be helping a child to become a winner. But there are a few other goals that a mental training would achieve.

What exactly is Sports Psychology for Kids?

Sports Psychology for kids is a way of changing the thinking about the ability to play and achieve goals in a specific sport. Kids’ sports Psychology uses a number of different strategies and games to help improve a child’s self-esteem. Visualization and verbal cues are often components of this type of psychology. It also requires parents and coaches to have more realistic expectations of the child and be supportive without creating unrealistic expectations of how a child will perform.

Sports Psychology Focus on the Process of the Game rather than Winning

Rather than focusing on winning, sports psychology focuses on the process. For example, explain to a baseball player to visualize the ball coming towards him and swinging the bat connecting with the ball, rather than be told to focus on hitting every ball. By focusing on a process and small skill rather winning, the child can actually see themselves being successful rather than feeling the pressure of having to hit every ball, or having to pitch a perfect game. The less pressure a child feels, the more self-confidence he has and the more he will be able to achieve because he can learn to build on each success rather than put all the focus on being the “best”.

Parents Need to Work Closely with the Sports Psychologists

Even if you hired the best sports psychologists, they can’t do it alone. They not only need to work with the child but they also need to work with the parents. Sports Psychologist helps parents to moderate their expectations of the child and to keep expectations realistic both in their mind and the mind of the child. For example, a parent of a child who is running track may think they are being supportive when they say “You are much faster than Timmy, you’ll win this race.” but instead of instilling confidence, the child feels that the parent is telling them they must beat “Timmy” or they will disappoint the parent. Better yet, if the parent said something like “I know you’ll run a clean race.”, the child will be able to focus on his running instead of the need to meet set expectations.

The whole idea behind sports psychology is to help a child do his best, experience success and acquire the high self-esteem needed to succeed in life, not just in a given sport.