I will often utilize the mantra What’s Important Now or the acronym W.I.N. for mental performance skills training. I don’t need to tell you that your kiddos probably have a tough time prioritizing their thoughts and actions. Or they get hyper-focused on the wrong thing at the wrong time. HELLO!?! Either way, it’s probably frustrating to you and, to some extent, them.
Quick Disclaimer: Everything I talk about in this group will be in the context of sport and performance. I may use examples outside of sport and performance to illustrate a point. I want to emphasize I am not a licensed therapist, nor will I pretend to be one. My training is in sport and performance psychology. If you have concerns about your child that may stem outside of sport and performance, I strongly recommend seeking a licensed professional.
Imagine your child is playing in a basketball game. He or she has been practicing all year, but it doesn’t seem they are focused.
Put yourself into their shoes for a moment:
A crowd of parents is staring and cheering for you.
Your coach barking plays at you and your teammates.
You’re trying to think if I should pass the ball or dribble the ball or shoot the ball.
I have sweat in my eyes.
What’s the play?
I see my teammate drinking water on the bench; I think I’m thirsty.
I think it’s play number two.
What’s play number two?
Did I dribble yet?
Which foot is my pivot foot?
Wait, should I shoot it?
My mom is YELLING, “SHOOOOT!”
I dribble to get past the defender.
The ref blows the whistle!
The ref yells, “TRAVEL!”
My teammates and coach look at you with frustration
A faint moan comes from the crowd.
It’s easy to understand why your kids get distracted during games. There’s a lot to process, and to a young inexperienced athlete, processing all of those items is difficult. Some athletes may not know that they have control over their thoughts.
Helping your kids prioritize their thoughts and actions can help in these situations. Using W.I.N. is a great example of what we can teach kids at practice and reinforce at home.
Can you think of a few things you could do at home with your kids that incorporate “What’s Important Now?”