This article is written by Gene Zannetti
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- Verbally & Non-verbally communicate that you believe in them. This theme will gradually start to become a part of their positive self-talk as well & can be a great reminder for them when they are doubting themselves.
- Verbally & Non-verbally communicate that you accept them, love them, & are proud of them NO MATTER WHAT. Reinforcing winning, perfection, & success are much lower on your priority list than their fun, happiness, & enjoyment- you might be surprised how much more success this brings.
- Praise their performance, not their outcome. You want to complement a kid for positive qualities like working hard, going for skills, staying positive, maintaining composure, never quitting, etc. The athlete mastering these qualities will eventually be the one who succeeds. Complimenting them too much for winning teaches them that winning is all that matters, and by default losing disappoints you.
- Ask your kid permission before giving your opinion/criticism. Ie. “Would you mind my opinion?” (This gives the kid a sense of power during a sensitive interaction).
- Don’t talk about their sport too much at home. Let your kid bring it up first most of the time. Let your home be a place of peace, positivity, & mental recovery.
- Be positive & supportive. 9 out of 10 times, this is what your kid would like, & is often what they truly need.
- If you read the forums, newspapers, rankings,etc… DON’T talk about it with your kid.
- Know your role. Athletes do their sport. Coaches coach. Judges judge. Parents parent. And there should be very little, if any, overlap between them.
- Don’t make competition day special. Your kid can sense this, & it usually leads to them doing the same thing. You want them treating everything the same, so should you.
- When in doubt – lay off. This is tough to do, but it is often the right thing to do, especially when you know your kid is already serious about the sport.
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Featured Contributor: Gene Zannetti
Co-founder of Z Winning Mindset, Gene Zannetti graduated with a Psychology degree from the University of Pennsylvania. He has two masters degrees; one in Sport Psychology and the other in Clinical Psychology. Gene is a certified School Psychologist, Personal Trainer and Nutritionist. His masters degree thesis (Perfectionism & Anxiety) has been published in the International Journal of Wrestling Sciences. Gene was a nationally ranked All-Ivy League wrestler at UPenn.