I think we all know that feeling when we're watching a kid play sports and it is clear that they don't have a thought or worry in the world other than pursuing the competition out of sheer enjoyment. A lot of us probably wish we still experienced sport that way - and hopefully some of us still do. It's something I try to actively pursue in my own training.
What is happening during that journey from childhood to adulthood that is causing us to lose that joy, that "power of presence" in our competition? As a coach, I see more and more pressure being placed on youth athletes as they age - to place better, get a scholarship, etc. (I maintain that most of this pressure is unintentional, and can come from a wide range of sources, not just parents).
The problem is that the success they find has to be from a focus on the process, not on the outcome. This is a key tenet of sports psychology. A focus only on the outcome will eventually lead to one thing - burnout. For this reason, I spend a lot of time, especially with teenage athletes, brainstorming ways to keep that presence in their training and racing.
I encourage all of our parents to read the following article, and think about how we can help our athletes maintain their joy of sport, and therefore their presence, especially in competition.
The Power of Presence - Jasper Blake, Training Peaks
Wishing you a wonderful Sunday,