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How to Coach Your Kid to Greatness When They Fall Flat on Their Face (Literally!)

how to effectively coach youth sports when facing obstacles & challenges

I can coach pro athletes, everyday runners & wellness goal-getters all day long, but when it came to MY kid, this was certainly a moment to remember... a time when my performance coach & mom lines started to blur.

The picture below was taken right before it all went down. The time my 8-year-old son went airborne, to land flat on his face during his track race! 😬 Only to be followed by finishing his 100m race LAST & getting a cramp in his final race of the night.

Thankfully, our family now jokes about it, referring to it as the "Great Fall of 2022." But, it made me reflect on: How can we effectively talk to our kids when they have a really tough moment?

youth track & running coach mom empowering her child to perform his best despite adversity

What can we do & say when a sporting event (or life) doesn't go their way?

How do we remind those that we love of their greatness, when they're having a hard time seeing it within themselves?

In this video I share 10 tips to talk your child about physical & mental athletic performance, especially when it gets hard!

To recap, that's:

  1. The time to educate is not in within their tough moment.

  2. If they have a game to finish, change the messenger to anyone but yourself, preferably a coach they trust. (Learn how to use this strategy for your spouse here.)

  3. When it is time to talk, start the conversation by asking open ended questions.

  4. Give your child the space to feel all the feelings & get the ugly out, reassuring them that it's ok to feel sad, frustrated or mad.

  5. If they are still really upset, they may not be ready yet to talk, but making them laugh can help shift their brain to a state of logic & reasoning (instead of stress & intense emotion).

  6. Keep your takeaway messages simple, such as "We can't control what happens to us, but we can always control our reaction." and "What we do & what we say to ourselves when it gets hard matters."

  7. Illustrate your takeaway messages with examples for how they can apply them.

  8. Ask your kid what works best for them to feel & perform their best, helping them discover it over time.

  9. Illustrate your message with a story so you can say, "Remember that time I told you the story about..."

  10. Don't get discouraged, as talking about tough times isn't easy for adults, let alone kiddos! It will be a perfectly imperfect process, but each small message that sinks in over time will add up to a BIG impact on your child's well-being.

I still have a lot to learn as a coach & mom, even with a small army of credentials & degrees in this sort of stuff. I know I won't always get it right, but I know my intentions to do my best & empower my kids to live a healthy, high-performance life WILL make a difference.

Wishing you all the best in empowering those you love to be vibrantly well,

Coach Louise

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