This article aims to reinforce a perspective regarding the way we look at young athletes and how we can stimulate their development, not only as athletes, but also as a person.
Everything starts with the assurance that elite athletes aren´t made overnight. Having this in mind, in this article, we are going to reflect on one of the key components of the mindset we need to have and transmit to our young athletes to get them on much more stable path to develop their game!
We all know that the path to become a fully developed athlete is neither short or smooth, therefore prepare and embrace the journey you will have ahead as mentor in this process.
One of the main mental skills to be developed in early ages is the task-based approach when evaluating the process we are going through. In case you choose the outcome based approach, be aware that in junior sports doing so will move everyone involved in the process (mentor, player and parent) off that path where the focus goes towards overcoming tasks/obstacles no
matter their nature (technical, tactical, physical or mental)
Now, if we are not developing in a consistent and organic way how can we set goals? And if we don’t set goals, are we just going with the flow? How dangerous can this be?
Well problem is, if a junior player (main key of the triangle – player, father, mentor) as no long-term goals then chances are that emotions will be the main component of his tennis development. Making results and accomplishments along the way look bigger than what they really are, and on the other hand the lack of “good results” seem worst than what this really is!
It´s important that, as coaches, we can help instil these ideas in the minds of our athletes, so that they can keep performing at a high level, both in practice and in competition contexts. We need to help them realize that development will come from consistent hard work during a long period of time.