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May
02

Controlling/Understanding Overwhelming Emotions

 

Controlling/Understanding Overwhelming Emotions

 “When little people are overwhelmed by big emotions, it’s our job to share our calm, not join their chaos.”

      As coaches and parents we tend to get worked up if our athletes aren’t succeeding or meeting the expectations we have set in our heads. We care about them so much that seeing them fail hurts our hearts, and sometimes we show that in tough love or in just simply the wrong way, because let’s face it, our emotions get the best of us sometimes! We have to remember that our athletes are already full of a variety of emotions and thoughts that lead them into being disappointed, frustrated, and upset with themselves. Of course there will be situations where tough love is necessary and needed in lighting their fire to get them going when they aren’t trying, caring, or when they are even giving up. But when our athletes do care, are working hard, and trying their best, but falling short, making mistakes, and on the days where nothing seems to go right for them, we have to calm their overwhelmed and anxious emotions, not fuel them. If they are overwhelmed and overthinking, us coaches and parents choosing to fuel that won’t be helping, but making the situation worse. Choose to be the calm in the storm for them; the person they can feel safe to turn to when things go awry, and communicate with us in order to get perspective, learn, and move forward. Help them find control and a healthy outlet for their emotions so they can keep moving forward while becoming stronger each time they are faced with an obstacle.

If we can teach them to not ignore their emotions, but to accept them, use them, and/or move forward from them, while also understanding what they can and cannot control, we will be helping them improve as athletes and as young women. Understanding what they can and cannot control will be a huge help for them now and as they get older. For example:

I can control: my words, my actions, my ideas, my effort, my mistakes, my behavior, my attitude

I cannot control: other’s words, actions, ideas, feelings, mistakes, and behavior

If they understand they can only control themselves, it will be extremely beneficial not only in the game and all aspects of softball, but in life itself. The connection between life and sports is so close that our mentorship can help them in more than just the sport. We are leaders that are here to inspire and teach, and we are so lucky to have the opportunity to help shape them and guide them into being the best version of themselves; strong, courageous, smart, diligent, and determined young women.

Teaching our athletes the importance of not ignoring their emotions will make a great difference in their performance not only on the field, but within their mental game in all situations. We are here to help them reach their highest potential, and without the mental training, they will most certainly fall short. We should keep watch on the potential hints or leads that cause our athletes to feel anxious or overwhelmed, because if we can see it sooner rather than later, we can help them learn how to control their emotional situation before their nerves take over.

Signs of anxiety in sports:

-Stomach ache

-Headache

-Fear/avoidance

-Panic

-Overly emotional

-Shallow breathing

Knowing our athletes is so incredibly important, and it’s not just about knowing the way they swing, throw, or pitch, but understanding their personality, the type of listener and learner that they are, the way they take constructive criticism, and what their goals and aspirations are. The more we know and understand them, the better we will be able to coach and teach them, and the better they will learn and progress. We are capable of helping our athletes become the best they can possibly be, we just have to be willing to put the work and compassion into it.

 Let’s help our athletes in the best way we can!

Written by Nikoli Sharp

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