The Bleachers Talk

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Empowering Youth Athletes: A Parent's Guide to Tackling Performance Anxiety

Oct 12, 2023

In the realm of youth sports and academics, performance anxiety can be a formidable opponent for your child. Recent research suggests that as many as 37% of student athletes grapple with anxiety at some point. As a parent, you may be eager to discover effective ways to support your young athlete during these challenging moments. Drawing from personal experience in conquering anxiety, we've curated two actionable strategies to assist parents on this journey.

Normalize Anxiety: It's essential to help your young athlete understand that anxiety is a natural part of life, a feeling not to be ashamed of. Share stories of accomplished professionals, speakers, and athletes who have also battled anxiety. By opening up about your own experiences with anxiety and how you've managed it while taking on life's challenges, you can encourage your child to confront anxiety gradually. Over time, they will discover that it lessens as they become more adept at handling it.

Assess Your Own Emotions: As parents, you serve as role models, and your emotions are contagious. Children often learn how to cope with competition by observing the energy and attitude displayed by their parents and coaches. Prior to games and practices, strive to maintain a composed and positive demeanor. Be mindful of the words you choose when discussing the significance of each event.

In the world of youth athletics, anxiety is just one of the many hurdles young athletes face on their path to excellence. Remind your child that by tackling anxiety head-on, they can build resilience and enhance their mental performance. With these practical strategies and your unwavering support, you can empower your young athlete to thrive both in sports and in life.


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