|Softball Smarts Tips #134:
How to Make Your Athlete Love the Game!
As parents and coaches we hope that our athlete(s) love the game enough to bring the passion, energy, dedication and focus necessary to continually get better and play their best on Game Day.
All too often, however, I see kids who are not motivated, do not push themselves to be great and allow the slightest adversity to send them into an emotional tailspin! How is this possible? How much do we as parents invest in our kid's game only to find out she doesn't love it or even want to play anymore?
Along the path to softball mastery your athlete, like so many, may have forgotten why she is playing the game. She gets in the car goes to practice, goes to her private lessons, goes to endless friendlies and games in faraway places against teams with anonymous faces...why?
As a sports parent it is essential for you to review these extremely important questions and topics with your athlete to get her back on the right track:
1. Why does she play the game? This is not an easy answer for most teens. When younger they play because they love the game or to please mom and dad. Now she must have a deeper motivation, a bigger reward at the end of the rainbow to drive her to continue to work hard in practice and games.
2. What is the end game and why? Is it an athletic scholarship for college, the goal of making a better travel team or her high school varsity team?
3. Does she truly have a reward, goal or "pay off'" that she is excited about? Without this the long, exhausting days of practice and endless Sunday car rides at 5:30 am will surely get old in a hurry. With a clearly defined reason of why she plays (that excites her and not you) she should have the motivation and desire to push forward in her softball career.
4. If she truly loves the game she has "intrinsic" motivation and is likely good to go. Just point her in the direction of the diamond and she's got all the motivation she needs.
5. If she does not truly love the game she'll need to find some "extrinsic" motivation that will keep her going. Maybe it's the friendships she makes, the thrill of competition on Game Day or the pride of putting on her school or travel uniform.
6. And if she has a "payoff" she is motivated to achieve ask her what she is willing to sacrifice in time and effort (including her level of physical and mental preparation) to seize the opportunity and make that dream a reality? (Watch my video on Opportunity here)
7. Ask your athlete what she would miss if she stopped playing the game? As in love sometimes absence does make the heart grow fonder. Taking a short break from the game (like taking off a fall season) can be a great way to re-charge the softball batteries.
Whatever it is you and your athlete must tie her softball effort and journey to a definable goal, reward or payoff that she can buy into. Otherwise she may lose her motivation and desire to keep working hard...which is effectively the beginning of the end. Like I always say, in a game like softball, if you're not getting better you're getting worse!
And once in awhile your athlete matures into a teen that wants to do different things and slowly drifts away from her, one time, softball dreams. It can be extremely frustrating as a parent to accept the reality of our kid's true motivations and interests, but it is the nature of kids to grow and spread their wings (like we did long ago!).
We want them to succeed so badly, but at the end of the day they are the ones who have to find the fire in the belly to keep playing the game at a high enough level to compete with the best on Game Day.
If that fire goes out from time to time help them to re-connect the dots and see if you can fan that spark back into a flame!
***I am putting the finishing touches on my FREE three part online video training course, 6 Powerful Strategies to Skyrocket Game Day Performance, and will absolutely be launching the program next week!
As a subscriber to Softball Smarts Tips you will receive the activation link to the first video immediately upon the release of the course.
You can now buy all my books on Amazon by clicking here!
**You can now access the Softball Smarts Tips Archives of all previous issues by clicking here.
Be sure to follow my sports performance tips on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.
Remember, thoughts are things...so choose them wisely!
Thanks for reading,
Winner's Edge Softball
Winner's Edge Kids