Mind Over Sports

AN ATHLETE’S DEEPER PROBLEM.

Posted on: February 28, 2016

Dear Marv,

I help coach a select level U14 girls soccer team in Georgia. We have one player in particular who gets herself so worked up before a match she becomes almost ineffective. I suspect deeper problems are involved with this particular child. Any tips I can use to help calm her before a match?
Thanks, Bill

Dear Bill,

Thanks for your note. You’re probably right regarding problems she may be having in her personal life (or possibly even with you or other team members.) I would encourage you to meet with her one-on-one, letting her know that anything she says will be kept in complete confidence, just between the two of you, and provide her with an opportunity to “unload” (that is, talk about issues she may be having in her personal life) without fearing anyone being judgmental. If she’s having a problem with someone and prefers not to confront him/her, you can also encourage her to write that person a nice long letter telling him/her how she feels, then, putting the letter away in her dresser drawer at her dorm or home.

Another suggestion might be to introduce her to meditation, where she creates a mantra for herself and after hours of practicing, will be able to focus on and visualize her mantra, blocking out everything else around her. In this way, she can calm herself just prior to competing. If you’d like more information on this, let me know and I can e-mail it t you.

Bill, I’ve worked with college level girls’ volleyball and softball teams and have some insight into what you’re experiencing. Many of the girls were highly emotional, but they also responded to the type of program I’ve mentioned. If your young soccer player doesn’t respond, then I highly recommend professional counseling.

Marv

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