Mental Toughness, a Champions Spirit, a Winning Attitude, Killer Instinct, call it what you will but all champions have it. The desire to succeed and be the best is something that all top athletes seem to have.  A question I have been asked by many parents of competitive students is whether we can build that spirit in a child.  While, it is true that many athletes are born with that drive and determination, it is also something that can be built or grown.  Conversely, it can also go away.  Often times when an athlete is pushed to hard, or the wrong way, they can lose that drive and commitment or desire to be the best.  Here are a few ways to you can build competitive fortitude in your child:

  1. Find examples:  If your child is a soccer player than you want to watch games with your child.  Pick out players that they look up to and make the connection from that player to a champions heart!  For my daughter it is Alex Morgan of the Orlando Pride and USWNT.  There are so many examples of amazing sporting attitude there to tie into.  We have brought her to meet fellow teammate of Alex’s, Carli Lloyd, she has her books and watches her TV show on Amazon.  Any way we can find to have her emulate that athletic model we use.
  2. Find a mentor:  Superstar athlete examples are great!  The only issue there is that they are not accessible to them or tangible enough.  For this reason they need a “real life” example of someone that they look up to and have access to.  For our daughter, she trains with Chirstine Nairn, a professional soccer player with the Washington Spirit.  Of course cost can become an issue in some of these cases, however, there are usual ways around that.  Which, brings me to the final bit of advice for today.
  3. YOU:  As parents we need to have the attitude in us that we want our children to have.  When we, as parents, leave a game and are blaming the refs, calling out other players, putting the loss on the coaches or just complaining to complain, this attitude carries over to our child.  Parents need to be intentional with the things that they say after each practice and game.  If we don’t want our child to get to serious about their sport then we can frame it that way.  It may still happen in time based on their own desire but that will happen later and naturally.  Always frame your comments in a positive light regardless of your desired outcome.  You can see some of our past blogs on that subject.

Published: June 22, 2021

Categories: Benefits of Martial Arts