At Peak Performance Sports, we think it’s important to involve everyone in an athlete’s support group during the sport psychology coaching process. The more people who are involved in the coaching process, the better results for the athlete.
Should parents be involved in the sports psychology coaching process?
Yes, it’s very important for parents to be involved in the sports psychology process when working with young athletes. We ask parents to support our efforts in helping their athletes improve their mental game. Often, small changes parents can make in their communication to athletes can make a big difference in mental attitude for athletes.
For example, as a parent, it’s easy to place high expectations on your athlete and focus on outcomes–without even realizing it. We suggest to parents that they help us help their athletes focus on the process and not outcomes. We also help parents understand the difference between expectations (that turn into pressure for athletes) and setting goals. These are important lessons we teach to athletes in sports psychology sessions that can be undone by parent who don’t realize what they are doing.
Should parents participate in sports psychology sessions?
Yes, we encourage parents to participate in the sessions with their athletes when possible. This way, parents have a better understanding of the sports psychology lessons we teach to athletes. This allows parent to improve their communication and focus on what’s important for the athlete: building confidence and managing high expectations. In some cases, we prefer to work with athletes without the presence of parents. Sometimes athletes will be more open to communicate the pressure they feel from parents when parents are not present because they don’t want to upset them.
If parents are unable to participate in the sports psychology sessions, we often have a phone meeting to help bring them up to speed on what their athletes are working on. Anyway parents can support our mental training efforts, the better results athletes will obtain.
Should coaches participate in sports psychology sessions with their athletes?
Yes, but it’s difficult to find the right time when the coach, athlete, and mental coach can come together in the sport psychology meeting. With the athlete’s permission, we often will apprise a coach of the mental game strategies we work on. Coaches can also provide valuable input about an athlete’s mental game based on their observations from practice and competition. Information gather from coaches can help to improve the sports psychology coaching because it comes from another perspective and the information is often objective.
Thus, we think it’s important to encourage parents’ and coaches’ participation in the sports psychology coaching process. We want everyone on the same page with the mental coaching strategies. This way, athletes will be encouraged to stick to the mental coaching plan during the sports psychology coaching process and not hinder the outcomes of the mental coaching program.