Teaching Youth Athletes to be Tough and Resiliant

By RonUsher | Uncategorized

Oct 22
Image of a whirlpool

Sometimes things can spiral downward for a team. What can you do to help your athletes cope and become resilient?

One of my favorite sites is T-Nation. It’s gone through some changes over the last ten years but it still produces some great articles on fitness, strength, body building, nutrition and athleticism.

The articles can be hysterical, sexist and definitely not politically correct. The authors are either fitness pros who have years of experience and sometimes they let some newbies come in and guest post.

Chris Shugart is one of the editors. His articles typically aren’t about fitness…they are usually motivational and inspirational. I love reading them. His new article is entitled “Embrace the Suck” and it got me thinking about my fitness and life as well as how could I apply this to coaching or parenting kids.

His main point is that somethings are hard. They are difficult. Painful even. To accomplish something is going to take hard work, failure and disappointment. The more worthwhile the task, the more likely it’s going to “suck”.

The marines use this phrase when they know they will be in a bad position. It could be in mud, out numbered, under supplied or just working your butt off for days on end in a dangerous situation. They call it, “The suck”.

Any sport or endeavor that kids do at some point is going to “suck”. They need to be prepared for it, mentally and physically.

Here are three tips for getting your athletes ready for difficult times.

1. Prepare them. Make sure you talk about how hard something is going to be and some of the emotions they may feel during the difficult times.

2. Give them similar situations but less difficult. Just as you don’t go from zero to difficult physically, don’t do it mentally. Give them slightly difficult situations and then increase them as the season progresses.

3. Emphasize the rewards they will get for achieving and surviving. Don’t use extrinsic motivators like ribbons or money. Talk about the feeling of self-worth and accomplishment. Bring up how it will make them a better team and individuals.

What are you doing to help your athletes become resilient?

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