Who Has Your Back?
As an athlete, it is probably your parents, coaches, and teammates who have your back. We all feel better when we know that there are people who are rooting for us to succeed, whether that is at home, school, or on the field. We like to know that someone is out there guiding us through the game of life. Support comes in all sizes and there are some people who help to push beyond our comfort zone.
Olympian, Megan Lukan
We recently sat down with Olympian, Megan Lukan who discussed the significant supports in her life during our podcast. Megan’s most prominent supporter is her mom. Megan credits her mother for helping her to build her technical and mental skills as a basketball player. Megan is known for being a hard working as evident be her ability to quickly switch from playing college basketball to training for the Canadian rugby team. Megan’s mental toughness stems from her mother helping her to push past her comfort zone and continue to improve her skills.
Parent Tip 1
As parents, we are the first to provide that supportive structure, but knowing how to give great support rather than alright support is vital for performance. When helping your athlete build confidence in their skills encourage them to try new things. Give them specific feedback like “You did a good job today being a vocal leader.” Fear and doubt can be significant obstacles to performance and by providing your child with a framework to overcome those fears will help them not just in their sport but for a lifetime.
Parent Tip 2
When you hear those negative statements, like “I suck,” it is an excellent time to help your child check in on there thinking. Let’s focus on negative thinking first. Sometimes it is hard to be the voice of positivity when you are feeling down or defeated. This is where your help will be vital. Sit down with your child and help them look at the other side of the coin. They may have forgotten about key plays they made or may be overly focused on one negative game. Help them see past the negative and focus on what’s going well.
Parent Tip 3
Another useful tip is to help your child make a game plan. Making goals helps athletes push beyond their comfort zone. Making specific goals based on effort and actions athletes can control is crucial for improvement. Every NFL player wants to win the Superbowl, but they have no control over who may get injured during the season, impacting the team’s performance. Instead of just saying I’m going to get better, make very specific goals like, I am going to work on improving my stride to take only three steps in-between each hurdle.
The Magic 5:1 Ratio
Feeling supported helps to create a safe environment to try new things and to persist during challenging times. At 3E, we are big believers in the 5:1 ratio. What’s this mean? This is the ratio of good to bad feedback. Think back to time whether it is in sports, work, home, or school. You may have encountered a person who hardly ever gave you positive feedback. No matter what you did, it seemed like it was not good enough. People often give up or quit trying when they believe they can’t do any better. Using the 5:1 ratio helps to build support and confidence. It takes 5 positive encounters to overcome 1 negative. So, when providing negative feedback, it is beneficial to talk about what the athlete is doing right and then what they can improve on. Athletes who have good supports in their lives and on their teams can go a long way.