Whether you’re a coach or a parent, you undoubtedly want your young athlete to perform to the best of his ability at each and every game and practice. Figuring out how to make that actually happen, though, can be tough.
Fortunately, a lot of research has been done into what makes an athlete perform well. This means that you don’t have to just blindly guess at what kind of attitude your player needs to have in order to succeed. Instead, you can rely on science, and science shows there are certain indicators that a player is performing optimally. By making yourself aware of these indicators, which we’ll discuss below, and then doing your best to pass them on to your players, you can increase their chances of success.
Indicator #1: The Player is Having Fun!
Some coaches are under the delusion that “fun” doesn’t matter during a game, that it’s all about performance and aggressiveness out on the ice. In truth, though, at all levels of sports, fun DOES matter. If a player is not enjoying himself, he’s not going to perform at a peak level, guaranteed.
When you encourage your athletes to have fun, you can rest assured that they’ll go out onto the ice loose, relaxed, and focused. They won’t get all caught up in pressure or stress and can instead enjoy themselves and thus play as well as possible while being n the moment.
Indicator #2: The Player is Relaxed
You may think that relaxed is the exact opposite of what you want your players to be, but nothing could be further from the truth. While you do want your players to be excited and even a little nervous before the game starts, you want them to become relaxed the moment they step out on the ice.
When players are too tense and afraid, it will absolutely wreck their performance. Teach your players methods to stay relaxed, such as focusing on breathing, having a good stretch before the game, preparing mentally just before they play, and staying collected no matter what happens.
Indicator #3: The Player is Confident
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, you want your player to be confident when he’s playing. Confidence is different from cockiness; a player shouldn’t be so self-assured that he thinks he’s unbeatable, but he should feel confident in his abilities.
You can boost confidence by being encouraging to your players at all times. When they do something well, heap praises on them. When they do something poorly, offer constructive, kind feedback. Also, make sure your players have worked hard and practiced thoroughly, since this will build confidence as well. You’ll quickly find that confident players are successful ones.
If you can keep these peak performance indicators in mind and do your best to instill them in your young athletes, you should have a winning team before you know it!