Jap P. Granat, Ph.D.
Psychotherapist, Founder, StayInTheZone.com
Every week I get calls from parents who are concerned about their kid’s athletic performance. These young athletes compete in a wide range of sports including golf, tennis, soccer, baseball, basketball, football, ice skating, track and field, wrestling, bowling, lacrosse, swimming, fencing and the martial arts.
Many of these youngsters are competing for athletic scholarships. Some are Olympic hopefuls. For example, several months ago, I was contacted by the mother of a young ice skater who was hoping to compete in the next winter games. Frequently, parents, are uncertain if a sport psychologist or a mental toughness coach is what is needed to help their youngster reach his or her fullest potential. There are many psychological aspects of sports which can be successfully addressed with the right kind of counseling. This short questionnaire can give parents some guidance as to whether mental training is right for their child at this point in time. Answering “yes” to several of these questions can indicate the need for some mental coaching.
1. Does your child show passion for his or her sport?
2. Is your youngster working toward an athletic scholarship, a county championship, state championship, the Olympics, or a regional or a national ranking?
3. Is your son or daughter failing to perform to his or her fullest potential?
4. Is your child in conflict with his coach?
5. Is your child having frequent conflicts with his or her teammates?
6. Does your child lose his or her temper during competition?
7. Is your youngster losing his focus when he or she competes?
8. Does your child get very upset when he or she loses?
9. Is your child having difficulty handling the pressure of competing?
10. Are you and your child in constant conflict regarding his or her sport?
11. Is your child having difficulty deciding which sport is his or her favorite?
12. Does your child become very anxious prior to competing?
13. Has your child been in a prolonged slump?
14. Does your child lack motivation where practice is concerned?
15. Is your child very self-critical when it comes to his or sport?
16. Do you think your child may be using steroids or other illegal and harmful substances?
17. Do you think your son or daughter may be abusing drugs or alcohol?
18. Is your child’s sport interfering with his her school work and social life?
19. Is your child insisting on competing after a physician has recommended that he or she take some time off due to an injury?
20. Is your child afraid to compete since being injured?
21. Does your child need some guidance in selecting the right college?
22. Is your son or daughter terrific in practice, but terrible during competition?
23. Is your child self-critical even when he or she performs well?
24. Does your youngster go through huge emotional peaks and valleys around sports?
25. Is your child intimidated by other players?
26. Has your youngster’s performance deteriorated since a bad loss?
27. Do large crowds disturb your child?
28. Does your child avoid taking responsibility for bad performances or good performances?
29. Is it hard for you to find the right coach for your youngster?
30. Is your child playing primarily to please you?
31. Are you, your child and your coach engaged in a triangular conflict?
32. Are you and your child’s coach feeling frustrated and “stuck” where your child is concerned?
33. Would you like your child to be more relaxed, focused and confident at his or her sport and in school?