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From Stress to Success: A Parent's Guide to Supporting Youth Athletes

May 28, 20243 min read

As parents of a youth athlete, you understand that your child juggles numerous responsibilities, from sports and schoolwork to social engagements and family time. Amidst this hustle, ensuring adequate sleep, nutrition, and recovery can pose a challenge. While these demands rightfully hold importance, it's crucial to recognise that neglecting sleep and nutrition can impact training and performance.

Balancing Mental and Physical Stress

Remember, mental stress carries as much weight as physical strain. Just as our bodies have limits, our minds can reach a breaking point when bombarded with excessive stressors. Although occasional setbacks are natural, comprehending their causes and finding solutions is the key to sustaining consistent progress.

A Calm Mind for Optimal Performance

When your young athlete approaches training and competitions under heightened stress, their mental state becomes restless and overwhelmed, leading to anxiety. This mental unrest soon translates to their body, resulting in tightened muscles, self-doubt, and a feeling of being out of sync with the game. Achieving a state of mental clarity and relaxation is pivotal for playing intuitively and instinctively.

Strategies for Stress Management

Several techniques can be employed to alleviate stress and maintain physiological wellbeing. These strategies include effective time management, rejuvenating breaks, guided meditation, and reducing social media exposure.

Mastering Time Management

During school weeks, your child is tasked with both academic responsibilities and sports training. Keeping track of these commitments can be challenging. Utilising a calendar to plan and allocate time for tasks, training, and relaxation aids in organising priorities and fostering a balanced life. Allocating occasional breaks from training can rejuvenate their enthusiasm, preventing burnout and ensuring a positive relationship with physical activity in the long run.

Nurturing Mental Resilience

Introducing guided meditation on game days serves to centre the mind and enhance focus on the upcoming competition. Learning to ground oneself in the present task and curbing wandering thoughts is a valuable skill that can be applied during games as well. Moreover, refraining from excessive social media usage prior to games redirects attention towards preparation and self-care.

Collaborating with Coaches for Optimal Performance

If your young athlete enters a training session feeling fatigued, open communication with the coach is crucial. Whether it involves modifying workout sets or prioritising quality movements while adding an element of enjoyment, coaches can tailor the session to best suit the situation. Furthermore, if an upcoming period is laden with exams or academic demands, informing the coach can lead to adjustments in training intensity to accommodate the workload. By maintaining an open line of communication and working closely with the coach, your child ensures consistent progress and a fulfilling athletic journey.

At Inner Athlete, we incorporate all the tips listed above when working with our young athletes. If they are attending sessions fatigued or going through periods of stress outside of the physical stressors of their sport, we will alter their training sessions. This could be changing everything and giving them a day off, or keeping the intensity high and just getting the volume down. Regulation of training is going to allow for long term success and a happier athlete. This is why it's so important to have a coach and not just be following a program. A written program won't allow for adjustments to be made on the fly without the guidance of an experienced coach.

Learn more on strength and conditioning for youth athletes and increasing your sports performance at our website and the Inner Athlete Podcast (available on Spotify and YouTube)

Matt Hucul
Strength and Conditioning Coach
Inner Athlete- Bayside's premium strength and conditioning coaching for young athlete

#teenathletes #youthathletes #youngathletes #resistancetraining #strategiesforyouthathletes

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