Jay P. Granat, Ph.D.
Kids have vivid and active imaginations. Parents and coaches can tap into this part of their minds to help them to feel confident, relaxed and focused when they step on to the playing field or on to the court.
In addition, youngsters are very good at “acting as if” they are someone who the admire and look up to.
When I was a kid playing baseball in the New York area, my teammates and I wanted to get specific numbers on our uniforms.
The popular numbers when I was child were 7, 24, 28.
If you are a student of the history of baseball, you know that these numbers belonged to Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays and Duke Snider.
My teammates and I “believed” that if we wore these desirable numbers, we would perform like our idols were able to perform.
In addition, the young ball players would imitate the habits and mannerisms of these superstars. They were pretending to be Mantle, Mays or Snider.
Interestingly, adult athletes will sometimes pretend that they are their golf or tennis hero whey the compete as weekend warriors.
Recently, I had a young hockey players come to see me and I asked him who his favor hockey player was. This particular player wore number 76. I told his dad to get his son a jersey with that same number.
Not surprisingly, once he got the jersey with the 76, he started to skate faster, play more aggressively and score more goals and assists.
In addition, to the jersey, I suggested that the young player repeat the number 76 to himself with the following mantra.:
“I’m number 76. I am fast, strong, energized and alert. I always find a way to have fun on the ice and act just like my hero acts.”
Ask your youngster if he or she would like to have a particular number on their sports uniform.
I don’t see any downside to trying this wardrobe adjustment.
Give it a try. You and your kid may be pleasantly surprised.
You might also like my Bedtime Stories For Young Athletes program.