Importance of Mental Toughness in Youth Sports

Focusing on the mental toughness, is critical because  enhancing the mental side of the equation enhances what the athlete believes.  Learned behavior is simply that – it is learned. The mental game side is all about what the athlete believes they can do and not about what the athlete can physically do. It’s the belief that changes the attitude which in turn changes the behavior.  The behavior is what makes the difference difference in how athlete approaches the belief he or she can actually improve to the next level.

I believe mental toughness in young athletes’ is just as important as their physical abilities. Without self-esteem, and confidence it’s pretty difficult for kids to realize their full potential in sports and in life.

Benefits: Keep it Simple (KISS)

Assuming as a parent you believe the mental game is important the next difficult step is to get the kids to believe it’s important.

Explain the benefits of developing mental toughness by using examples. The more examples that illustrate mental game success the more they will believe it.

Keep it Simple and Specific!

Incremental Success Develops Confidence:

Each and every time one of my students takes advantage of even the smallest of mental game strategies and in turn sees even the smallest positive result – they believe!  The belief is no more different than the belief they have in their physical ability which comes from successful skill execution.

With mental game training, athletes improve their consistency, boost their confidence, improve their focus, increase their mental toughness and learn how to practice smarter.

Kids and even more advanced athletes often think they are “broken eggs” and not normal if they have to rely on what they sometimes call a “crutch” to help them.  I can tell you for a fact that everyone of my clients that buys into the mental game (amateur, elite and professional) sees their confidence and performance improve.

Mental toughness training is simply another form of training just like physical training. The good news is that it enhances the physical training. It’s like anything else, its not what you say, but how you say it that counts.  Use the right approach with examples and illustrations and the athlete will be  influenced in a positive way. For example, you wouldn’t want to call them names or give them a negative impression that they need their heads examined! Mental game training is  about learning new skills that help athletes thrive in many different kinds of situations.


If you want to learn more about how you can help kids enjoy sports, boost their confidence, send me your mental toughness request, question, or explain the problem you are facing by filling in the Contact us form at

Help improve your sports parenting skills and help your kids learn mental skills for sports and life by Asking Coach John to answer your toughest questions at

If you want to find out more about the challenges facing your kids performance fill in the FREE Mental Game Assessment found at the top of the home page. at


John R. Ellsworth, M.A.

Sports Psychology Consultant and Mental Toughness Coach


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