I Will Compete!
Competition, Competition, Competition….
It doesn’t stop because we are losing the game. Like Darren Hardy said recently in a Darren Daily episode, Competition is the fuel to our greatness.
All successful people we see in society are great competitors, from Bill Gates competing with Steve Jobs as they built two of the most iconic companies in history. To the competition with Roger Federer battling Rafael Nadal and history. Competition is the fuel for greatness!
Parents of good youth players who play at a high level say they want competition, in fact, they request it, but they don’t consider the other possibility. What if the competitor rises to the top and out competes the other kid?
What I hear when parents ask me if I am going to play the kids who earn it is are you going to play the best kid, if my kid is in the lineup.
What I see most of the time is a kid who has the ability, if not more, than the kid who is outperforming them. What they lack is the mindset to perform at their peak.
An advantage my daughters had when they played sports was the fact that I and my wife both competed in college sports and we always worked on their mindset.
Parents and even coaches need to give time, money and attention to the technical part of why a student-athlete may be underperforming. Sometimes a technical reminder by way of a lesson is all you need, but most of the time and especially because 90% of the game is mental, it is not the physical part of the game, it is the mental part of the game that needs a Coach, parent or accountability partner to help with their mindset.
One of the things that happens to athletes, especially baseball and softball players are peaks and valleys when it comes to hitting. But here is what the elite athletes know, that all things being equal, 90% of their success is above the shoulders. See the 1% of student athletes who get the big-time scholarships and go on to have great careers have the mental tools to get them out of the slump.
Instead of one more lesson parents and coach, support their student-athlete to develop the mental tools that will set them apart from the other 99%. At the highest level of athletics, there have been players who had as much or more talent than everyone else but because of their lack of mental tools they didn’t make it, or they never reached their full potential.
Being great starts with a belief that you can. Too many times I hear coaches say “focus” or we need to be “mentally tougher”, but those same coaches are not showing their student-athlete what that means or how to do it. That’s like telling a young softball player to “get the bunt down” but never showing them how to hold the bat, or how to turn their feet to bunt, yet having an expectation that they will lay the bunt down.
Coaches, our player’s mental development should be intentional. Parents one more lesson will not change what’s going on in your student-athletes head. Doing well is the result of feeling good about themselves. When they learn the life skills that I am talking about they not only become better players now, they gain life skills that support a healthy self whose better prepared to deal with whatever life throws at them. I personally know when young athletes have the mental tools to go with their physical ability they get through the peaks and valleys and end up as graduates of some of the best colleges in the country, they are also better prepared for life after their playing days are over.