I work with a lot of kids. I usually feel badly for the kids and the parents; both. The kids are not sure what’s happening and the parents feel helpless! I started with a new 13 year old client recently who was in tears. One day she was good and the next her nerves were getting the best of her and she had no idea how that happened.

The first thing I say to parents and kids is this: we never learned the skills needed to be competitive athletes. A small margin of athletes figure it out and do well but many, many others don’t. This is partly due to genetics (heightened confidence and lower levels of anxiety) and it’s partly due to nurturing but it also has a lot to do with the fact that parents didn’t learn the skills of necessary to be competitive athletes so can’t pass it down to their kids, which means kids don’t learn them. This is not the fault of parents. As a matter of fact, some of the better, most conscientious parents struggle to effect supporting the skills of competitive athletes. Whose fault is it (we love to know who’s at fault)? It’s the fault of the system. The skills that kids really need to be good athletes and good in business are not always the skills they are taught or that’s modeled for them.

So how as a part do you support you athletically, competitive child?

  1. Think about the mental states that a competitive athlete needs: confidence, motivation, resiliency, low anxiety, low negativity, etc, help educate (not lecture) your kids on these skills and support that.
  2. Please make sure you pay attention to whether or not what your child is happy doing what they are doing. Start when they are young and talk to them. Is this what they want?
  3. Right now I see young kids immersed in school and one sport and that’s all. Where’s the balance?
  4. If you see signs of anxiety or stress or perfectionism, get some help. Don’t ignore it. Whatever is happening at a young age is setting the stage for later in life.
  5. Advocate for positive coaches. The mean ones have no place in sports. Fear is not the way to help your child be a great athlete and it does have a huge impact on the rest of your child’s life.
  6. Ask questions: drmichelle@drmichellecleere.com

We have to start somewhere. Lets work together. I am out there talking to kids, parents and coaches but there’s a lot more to do!

My best,

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About Dr Michelle Cleere:

Mind Expert
In her own private practice as an elite performance expert, she helps top athletes, musicians, and executives in competitive fields unlock the power of the mind and create the mental toughness to be the best. Having struggled most of her life with her own performance hurdles, she is driven by not wanting others to experience the same battles. Dr. Michelle’s extensive academic background, which includes a PhD in Clinical Psychology and a Masters in Sport Psychology, allows her to help clients deal with performance anxiety, gain more confidence, and build resilience. As many clients attest, their experience with Dr. Michelle is exactly what they needed and more than they expected – it was life changing.

Author and Speaker
In addition to personal coaching, Dr. Michelle takes on many roles – a best-selling author, athlete, national speaker and teacher. Dr. Michelle’s bestseller, Beating the Tennis Demons, helps professional, college and juniors develop practical skills to gain more control over competitive environments and mitigate the interruption in play to overcome intense odds and defeat adversity. Dr. Michelle developed simple and effective tools to that used by coaches around the world. She’s presented with PTR, USPTA, and WTCA. She’s written for Tennis Pro Magazine, ADDvantage Magazine, Tennis Industry Magazine and National Senior Women’s Tennis Association.

Visit Dr Michelle’s website: drmichellecleere.com

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