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Human Performance Blog

Encouraging/Supporting your Athlete

As a parent and coach, what you say to your athlete after a tough practice or competition can affect their psyche. It can mean the difference between building confidence, instilling a competitive drive, or planting seeds of self-doubt, or even stimulating a fear of failure.

The conversation that you have after a win or loss result can be tricky to navigate, and sometimes you might feel that there is no way to get it right. So here are three steps to help you WIN the post performance conversation.

1- Recognize how you feel about the performance

Firstly, are you result or process driven?

An argument can be made for both ways of looking at performance. The results are what you can see after all, and are very tangible determinants of performance. For youth and athletes in a developmental phase, however, the process driven approach has been proven to be able to help more in the longer term. This means focusing on what growth has occurred and progress goals to performance.

Secondly, what emotions are you bringing to the conversation?

A win or a loss can be very emotionally charged. Paying attention to what you feel and think in the moments when you are preparing for a tough post performance conversation can save you from making an irreversible mistake.... a non verbal one!

Interestingly, it is a good idea to tailor both the win (positive) and the loss (negative) responses. This is because the emotional/physical responses you give in this moments can share a hidden message about what you value, taking us back to the process vs result driven approach.

2- Choose your words wisely

How you react is important, and also what you say!

Here is a list of 50 things you can say at various points of a competitive event that can help set you up for a constructive post performance conversation.

3- Be Genuine and Consistent

It is important to invest in the process of being an effective sport parent or coach. Commit to being consistent in editing yourself, and genuine in the responses you choose. Believe me, they can tell the difference!

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