How to stop a destructive mental state during a match in few seconds?

What to do when your child is overwhelmed by negative emotions that further worsen their poor performance.

How to stop this destructive state in few seconds?

When the spiral of negative emotions overwhelms your child and they lose control of their game, they may feel drained of energy, hopeless, lacking motivation, aggressive, sad, frustrated and more.

Suddenly, they lose confidence in their abilities and this immediately affects their performance, reinforcing their feelings of discomfort and underperformance. It’s essential for your child to know how to manage these moments. It won’t happen overnight but if they follow these four steps, it will eventually yield results and help them better understand what every high-level athlete experiences: a decrease in performance during the game.

  1. Awareness of feelings: The child must become aware of the emotions they are experiencing (frustration, anxiety performance, fear of losing, anger, I am not good enough, the opponent is better than me….),
  2. Acceptance: They need to accept these emotions as part of the experience, “ok I’am not at my best right now but I want to stop it!”
  3. Decision to Stop: They should choose to halt these emotions by taking a deep breath and using an anchor (which they have predefined),
  4. Efficiency: These steps should not last more than 5-7 seconds. The better prepared and practiced they are, the more effectively they will be executed. To be effective, the child must “customize” this “mini-crisis routine” (such as their anchoring technique).

As for the parents, they must learn to identify a method to calm their child (a sign, a look, a word, etc.) that they should repeat over and over to create a positive anchor for their child. They must create it themselves. Speak with your child and ask them what is likely to calm them in such moments. Together, choose a word, a gesture or a position that you can easily and quickly reproduce. At a glance, this will have the benefit of calming them down.

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