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Mental Strength Monday


Week 1 - Goal Setting

goal-setting_(1)Goal-setting helps boost youth athlete’s motivation and commitment. It draws direct attention on what you want to accomplish and helps to determine strengths and weaknesses in addition to tracking performance. 

Challenge: Create a list of 3 to 5 goals that you want to achieve as an athlete. Instead of saying, "I want to get better at soccer," a better goal might be, "I will work with the ball 30 minutes after school four times a week." Keep in mind your goals should be (SMART) Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time specific.


Creating these goals are a great way to start off the new year and the month of January.

For more information on Goal Setting: Click Here

Week 2 - Meditation

medHave you ever been distracted by parents shouting in the stands or by the other team while on the field playing? Meditation is a highly effective outlet that can help keep you focused on the field. Being able to ignore all distractions and negative thoughts can improve your performance and help you succeed. Meditation is also great for calming nerves, decreasing stress levels and improving sleep patterns. There are multiple apps that can guide you through meditation, here are some examples: Headspace, Calm, and Meditation for Kids. 

Task: Practice 20 minutes of meditation twice a week.


Week 3 - Self Esteem

Self_EsteemBuilding your self-esteem as an athlete 
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary:
  • self–es·teem: a feeling of having respect for yourself and your abilities;
  • a confidence and satisfaction in oneself: self-respect
Below are mental game tips to help sports kids perform their best in competition:
1. Let go of fear- Most athletes fear making a mistake in the game, of letting their team down, or of not making “the” play that causes the team to lose an important game. All athletes will make mistakes but once the mistake is done the best way to go about it is to learn from it and move on. 
 2. Play freely instead of holding back- Knowing and believing that the athlete has done everything possible to prepare for the event not only gives the athlete a mental edge over the competition, but also increases the athlete’s belief in his or her skills and abilities. The athlete’s knowledge and belief in his or her skills allows for freely applying these abilities needed during the competition.
3. Make no comparisons- Each athlete must be looked at individually, as a valuable asset to the team, and each athlete should understand the value that he or she brings to the team. 
 4. Don’t try to be perfect- Athletes must believe in their training, abilities, and skills, and they must understand that mistakes are learning opportunities.
5. Be confident- The athlete must have confidence in the hours spent mentally and physically preparing for the event - the repetitions, the workouts, and the coaching.

Week 4 - Focusing on what YOU can control

Focusing on what you can control

By choosing a team sport, you lose control of many things – your uniform, your position, your playing time and much more. The key things you CAN still control include: 
  1. Attitude
  2. Effort
  3. Communication
  4. Conditioning
  5. Learning
  6. Concentration/Focus
  7. Confidence
Too often, we as athletes, coaches, and parents, waste time worrying and complaining about things beyond our control. 
Putting our energy and focus on things we cannot control makes us feel anxious, uncertain, and fearful. On the other hand, putting all of your focus and energy on things you can impact — what sports psychologists call “controlling the controllables” — makes you feel empowered.
Read this article on how you can control the mental side of your soccer game.    

Week 5 - COVID and Mental Health

During this unprecedented time of the Coronavirus Pandemic, our lives have been disrupted. This crisis can cause negative impacts on our mental and emotional wellbeing. It is important to be aware of the impact this can have on our health so we can help ourselves. Self-care and knowledge of resources that are available are helpful in times of crisis. 

The cancellations of competitions, training sessions and disruption to your normal schedule can be difficult to deal with. Understand that you are not alone. The World’s sporting community is with you. There are resources available for you to help cope with this sense of loss, the lack of normalcy and the uncertainty of what lies ahead. 

The most important thing to focus on in this COVID-19 landscape is the health and safety of yourself and your loved ones.

Mental Health Resources for Athletes:

US Soccer’s Comprehensive Player Health and Safety Program:    

View this Recognize to Recover article with resources for Athletes, Coaches, Staff, and Parents:

Week 6 - Dr Sarah Fournier Part 1

Maureen LaRoche is joined by psychologist Dr Sarah Fournier who shares some tips on how Coaches can help players during this difficult time including framing the pandemic in positive ways and emphasizing the temporary nature of the pandemic.

Click here to view Mental Health Resources available for Children and Families

Click the link or graphic below to view the part 1 of our 3 part video series.

We hope that you find this information helpful. Please know that neither the 3-part video series nor resource list are intended to be a substitute for professional mental health services or medical advice.



Week 7

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Week 8

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Week 9

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Week 10

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