Hockey Peer Pressure: Help Your Child Overcome It
Many hockey players today worry too much about what others think of their game. I call this social approval, which you probably know as peer pressure. Young athletes often worry too much about what others might think about their game and thus what judgments people make.
Young athletes want others such as teammates, coaches, and parents to hold them in high esteem. In other words, they want to be accepted, respected, or liked by others. To some extent, this is normal in our society.
But when you are too concerned about what others think of your performance in hockey, it pokes holes in your mental game and focus on the ice. When you worry too much about “keeping up with the Jones” in your league, your game can suffer. You might spend too much time worrying, tighten up in close games, or paralyze yourself with the fear of letting others down.
Most young athletes rely too much on what they assume others think about them to boost their own self-worth. Athletes can fall into the trap of associating their self-worth (how they feel about themselves) with achievement in sports. They often think that if friends, coaches and family members respect or admire their hockey abilities, they’re better people.
If you fit this mold, you might even crave approval if you perform well in hockey (of course, this belief is not always true). Here are other signs that you worry too much about what others think: Athletes who crave approval from others often become anxious in competition, worrying about failing or becoming embarrassed in public.
Do you focus too much on what your peers think? If so, you should ask yourself what is so important about what others think about me? A lot of the time, your worry is not rational. You might make things up in your own mind that does not help you feel confident. Stop reading into what others might think about your game and instead focus on what you need to do to perform your best.
Editor’s note: Special thanks to Dr. Patrick Cohn for the above article. For more information on mental game coaching, you can read reviews of Dr. Cohn’s popular programs, The Confident Athlete Series and Kids’ Sports Psychology.
Review: The Confident Athlete Series
Review: Kids Sports Psychology
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