Back to Blog
Unlocking Excellence: Mental Strength for Young Athletes

Unlocking Excellence: Mental Strength for Young Athletes

coaches communication emotions excellence leadership life mental health mental strength mentors mindset nutrition over-training parents performance positive thinking relaxation resilience rest self-care sleep stress success

What does it take to be a champion? For the young athlete, mental strength and resilience are just as important as physical skills. This blog post explores how coaches, parents and mentors can help foster strong emotional foundations that will unlock excellence in both sports and life. Discover strategies to boost performance, reduce stress, and support the mental health of our future superstars.

Athletic excellence cannot be achieved without the right mindset. It’s not enough to just have physical talent – our young athletes need to understand how to use it effectively and in a healthy way. By teaching them strategies for managing their thoughts, emotions, and reactions, we can create an environment that encourages success on and off the field.

1. Build A Positive Mindset

We all experience negative emotions, but we can help our young athletes reframe them into something productive. Help them to recognize the importance of positive thinking, self-talk and goal setting to reach their potential. Reframing mistakes as “learning opportunities” can also be a powerful tool for developing confidence and resilience.

2. Practice Self-Care

Stress, anxiety, and burnout can quickly derail an athlete’s performance. Make sure to discuss the importance of self-care with your athletes–such as nutrition, sleep hygiene, exercise and relaxation techniques that will help them manage their stress levels. Taking regular breaks, getting enough rest and avoiding over-training are also essential for achieving peak performance.

3. Develop Leadership Skills

Teach your young athletes how to be a leader both on and off the field. This can include learning good communication skills, taking ownership of miscalculations and motivating teammates in a positive way. Leadership skills are essential for success in life, so encourage your athletes to take charge of their development.

4. Promote Mental Health

Mental health should be taken seriously in all aspects of life, but it’s especially important for young athletes. Discuss how to recognize the signs of mental distress, and provide resources to support athletes if they need help. When good mental health practices are in place, athletes will be better equipped to handle difficult situations and reach their goals.

By teaching our young athletes the importance of emotional fortitude, we can empower them to unlock excellence in both sports and life. With the proper tools and support, our superstars of the future can reach heights they never imagined.


Jeff Wong
MSM Foundation
Director of Grants Management


We're building a movement beginning this March where mental health and mental performance are foundational components of development in sports.

Learn More!