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 need to transmit to our young athletes to get them in the right path.
How to handle expectations
We all know that the path to become a full developed athlete is neither short or smooth, therefore prepare and embrace the journey you have ahead as mentor on this process.
One of the main mental skills to be developed in early ages is the performance-based approach when evaluating the process we are going through. In case you choose the results 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 premises are consistency and organic development.
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 making 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, not only so that they can keep performing at a high level, both in practice and in competition contexts. We need to make them realize that development will come from hard work during a long period of time.