Ask any student-athlete and they (or their parents) will likely tell you the same thing: nothing can rattle them like the lead-up to a big game. Most players find themselves somewhere between nervous and excited in the days leading up to the match.
It can be challenging to know where to direct their energy in these moments, but if they go in prepared, it can help them both minimize stress and perform better when the time comes.
Here are some tips to can make sure our student-athletes are ready for THE game:
Learn to Manage Time
Students’ schedules are busier than ever today, so understanding how to balance a number of activities at the same time is essential for you to avoid becoming overwhelmed and burning out.
Although student-athletes often want to focus on training in the final moments for a big game, they have other responsibilities on their plate too.
Teaching your child how to prioritize to keep themselves on track in classes and other activities is an important tool to avoid falling behind when the season starts heating up.
Fuel for Success
Let’s say you own a Ferrari. You don’t want to fill it up with water, you need the best most powerful fuel so it can perform as it should. The athlete’s body is the same way.
Healthy nutrition and a consistent sleep schedule are some of the best tools children and teens have to make sure they are at 100%.
If students are able to get into a good routine for taking care of themselves before game day, they’ll feel more confident, rested, and prepared for the challenge as the anticipation builds.
Enjoy the process
There is only so much that can control the outcome of a game, and spending too much time worrying will only cause them to be more nervous when the time comes. Remind your children that if they do what they can to prepare ahead of time, that’s good enough.
Taking a step back to relax and enjoy the training process can help children avoid stress as the game approaches and feel more satisfied with the result afterward, no matter how it goes in the end.
Most importantly, students need to be able to set expectations for themselves as they prepare for a big game. As the clock ticks down, try to give them a chance to set their own expectations and decide how they want to prepare without pressuring them to perform in the way that you, as a parent, expect.
Above all, sports are supposed to be fun and kids need to be allowed to be kids and enjoy what they do.
While living some of their most wonderful years, student-athletes should use big games as opportunities to learn valuable lessons and make memorable joyful experiences from games as they grow up.