In girl's softball today we ask a lot of our young athletes. Here in southern California we play over 110 games each year over nearly eleven months. The girls are asked to go through grueling three hour practices, sometimes twice per week, and play three to seven games over the weekend. Keeping up with school work means doing homework in the car or between games; having a social life...forget about it!
As your athlete becomes a teenager her motivations in her life can and likely will change. The little girl who would do any thing mommy or daddy asked her to do becomes a distant memory. It is at this delicate time in your athlete's life that you need to accurately assess her softball motivation and do all you can to keep her motivation high.
The one caveat is if she truly no longer loves the game enough to make the continual time and energy commitment to do what it takes to master the very difficult game of girls softball.
Statistics suggest, undeniably, that high school athletes are better students and more trouble free than their non-athlete counterparts. Read my blog post on the Top 10 Life Lessons Sports Can Teach Your Athlete to remind yourself of why sports participation is important.
So what things can you do as a parent to keep your athlete motivated to be the best girls softball player she can be?
Have her write down clearly defined softball goals she wants to achieve.
Write down a clearly defined game plan of action steps she can take to achieve her goals.
Have her write down all the things she loves about the game of girls softball.
Have her write down all the benefits (the payoffs) she receives playing the game (friendships, exercise, life lessons, chance to play in college, status in the community or on campus, etc.).
Review all these written statements with your athlete to be sure you are both on the same page.
A teenage girl does not possess the ability to make accurate perceptions sometimes and needs an adult to frame things properly for her. Distorted thinking can rob your athlete of her mental focus and motivation needed to be the best girls softball player she can be.
Be sure you accurately assess your athlete's motivation and have a sincere conversation with her about it. If your expectations for her performance exceed her own there will be trouble ahead...guaranteed! Buy her a journal she can use to record her thoughts, feelings, perceptions, aspirations and goals along her softball journey and you will find her mental clarity and focus as to why she plays the game will be front and center.