SPORTS PSYCHOLOGY WITH CHILDREN: MEETING PARENT AND CHILD
As a Child Sports Psychologist, I aim to work in an open, quick and straight-forward way. As such, I ask that I meet the child (under-18) along with his or her parent. This is for a three main reasons:
1) So that we all know why we are meeting and what we are planning to do
2) So that the parent can provide information and perspective on the difficulties
3) And so after the session the parent can reinforce the new understanding and solutions
I aim to set the child (and parents) at ease and to help explain how their difficulties are understandable. In this way, I want the child to understand how it is NOT the case that there is something majorly wrong with them, that they are weak, deficient or to blame for their difficulties
To give you an idea of the types of problems I help with, here are some examples:
SOME CHILD SPORTS PSYCHOLOGY SOLUTIONS
UNDERSTAND THEN MANAGE
When things don't go our way, we get annoyed. As children, these emotional responses can be intense and dificult to manage naturally. Children can learn useful skills to quell their anger and upset, helping them to perform and continue in sport.
COPE WITH INJURY
ABSORB THEN BOUNCE-BACK
Playing sport places sigificant stresses on the body. Growing also brings changes and stresses to the body. Aches, pains and injuries can be confusing and difficult for children (and adults) to understand and mentally deal with. Guidance at this time can be very helpful.
UNDERSTAND THEN MANAGE
In the lead-up to important performances, nerves, anxiety and stress can rise, getting in the way of performance and ending up in disappointment. Children can learn to change this pattern, managing stress and increasing confidence.
UNDERSTAND THEN IMPROVE
Playing sport can be difficult enough without having to deal with teammates who's words or actions distress or limit us. Understanding, interpreting and influencing these interactions is important if we are to perform well and get the best our of ourselves.
UNDERSTAND THEN LIFT
Sometimes our performance stops improving, or goes on a downward spiral. Other people, such as coaches can be overly critical, or we take their comments more to heart. The result is a drop in mood and change in behaviour (withdrawal). Fortunately, this can be understood and turned around.