A non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation
Advocating For a Written Sport Psychology Curriculum for Youth and School Sports Teams
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   - Self-Worth
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Mental Exercises to Help Perform at Your Personal Best

Create success or give yourself the best chance for success daily! People who have lots of success feel good about themeselves as people.

  1. Act to help others every day because you feel good about yourself when you help others; This can take the form of sportsmanship, but being very supportive of your teammates each day, for two hours a day, is a start toward building your own self-worth.

  2. Regularly work as hard as you can, physically and mentally, as you feel good about yourself when you honestly work hard. Once you get familiar with hard work (and the benefits it brings to both your play and your self-esteem), you will begin to center on how long you will be able to consistently give your maximum effort.

  3. Create a positive environment for you and others because people perform and learn better in a positive environment. Yelling causes anxiety associated with failure, permeates the thought pattern, gives way to feelings of inadequacy, and ultimately leads to poor performance. Supportive behavior leads to a willingness to try and fail at new things and to try again.

  4. Practice focusing in class and on the field of play by recognizing when you have wandering thoughts, then dragging your mind back to the object of your focus - use breathing meditation to assist you in practicing. For practice, focus on one thing (breathing) and recognize when distracting thoughts enter your head and re-focus on your breath. See Focus Meditation below (scroll down).

  5. Write down goals for every practice and game to remember them; Have your goals increase self-worth daily by having them challenging, realistic, specific, performance-related and short term.

  6. Practice being task-orientated. People have a better chance of success when they think about the tasks they need to perform (task-oriented) instead of the outcome they want to reach (outcome-orientation).

  7. Attaining personal excellence (not perfection) is your goal rather than comparative excellence (being better than someone else), because you can't control anyone but yourself. Do the best you can.

  8. Achieve by measuring your progress regularly, but not in terms of the success you have in reaching the outcome you want. Progress on the small tasks will improve your chance of reaching the outcome.

  9. Feel good about yourself by doing things of which you are proud.

  10. Practice meditative techniques for focus, confidence, non-reactive behavior, and anxiety to improve your chance of success.

    Focus meditation - practice focusing on breathing to train the mind to focus on one thing only. Then substitute the coach's voice and message for breathing. Steps: Use correct posture to ensure staying awake, focus on breathing, recognize wandering mind and thoughts that enter, drag back the mind to focusing on breathing. Then do the same thing when the coach speaks. The coach is your breath, notice distracting thoughts, then get your mind back on coach. This is a skill that needs much practice as it is normal to have distracting thoughts.

    Awareness meditation - practice being aware of all things and recognize each thought without reaction or deeper inquiry about the thought to practice non-reactive behavior for quick recovery from mistakes or trash-talking. Practice making no judgments

    Positive self-talk - remember a time you felt good about yourself and re-live feelings (both mental and physical) of the moment over and over, develop a cue word to bring you to that state when you like. Practice saying the cue word and re-living positive thoughts of accomplishment, satisfaction, knowlege of your goodness (made much easier if we regularly go out of our way to help and support others). When negative thoughts enter you mind about yourself (which they will), say the cue word and go to that place that knows you are a good person who actively tries to help others.

    Anxiety meditation - remember a time you did not feel anxious, but relaxed, without worry, see words describing the feeling, re-live feelings (both mental and physical) over and over, develop a cue word to use to bring you to that state whenever you would like. Practice saying th cue word and go to that calm place. When you notice that your thoughts (hopefully the first one) are anxiety-laden, you can say the cue word and go to that calm place that you have practiced feeling relaxed.

    Intensity meditation - get to know in your mind what it feels like to be very physically and mentally intense - see what your intensity looks like visually, what it feels like in your muscles, what it feels like emotionally. Get to know it by practicing as hard as you can under game-like conditions each day, all the time, every drill. Gradually, with practice, you will attain your top intensity level at the start of each contest. Then you will graduate to the next goal - consistency of maximum effort.

    Visualization meditation - practice seeing the skill you wish to improve over and over again in your mind. Your mind doesn't know what's real and what's not. Practice your move to perfection. When the real situation arises, your mind will do the right thing, the right way, because your brain is used to seeing and reacting the way you practiced it. Just a few minutes a night of visualization, working on a particular problem you have, will assist in making you a beter player.

These are by no means all of the activities one could do everyday to build self-worth and be a better performer. Add your own ideas as well! The concept is that progress is success. We can only improve and when we concentrate on that, and not on the winning or comparing ourselves to others or how much playing time we received, etc. As failure is an intregal part of sports, we must teach kids that it's not all about wins and losses. They already know the joy of winning, but they know very little about the joy of playing.

Our Mission
To bring positive change to the general school curriculum and sports programming by:
 •  Building a positive school environment
 •  Enhancing emotional health
 •  Reducing violence, addictions and eating disorders including obesity

"(After the workshop, as an example of what he learned) If you're doing your routine, don't focus on the outcome of your routine and the score that you want, but focus on the details, like your form and focus on keeping your toes pointed, things like that, and that will keep you from messing up."

 -- junior gymnast on Channel 5 News.

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