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Reality Check - Blog Post

Reality Check: Mental Skills Matter in Youth Sports

adversity attitude challenges competition confidence discouragement failure leadership mental skills mental strength mental toughness mistakes perspective potential success

Is your child a superstar athlete? That’s great! But here’s a reality check. Having physical talent doesn’t guarantee success in youth sports. Mental skills are just as necessary – and often overlooked - in the pursuit of triumph on the field. Here are five reasons why mental skills matter when it comes to youth sports:

1. Developing Self-Confidence

Being able to perform well under pressure is an important part of any athlete's success. By instilling healthy self-confidence in their players, coaches can help them become more confident in their ability to overcome challenges and reach their full potential.

2. Learning to Deal with Failure

Nobody likes to fail, but it’s part of being an athlete. Teaching young athletes to learn from their mistakes and not be discouraged by failure is key to helping them develop the mental strength they need to succeed in sports and beyond.

3. Building Mental Toughness

It takes a lot of mental toughness to compete at any level, especially for youth athletes. Being able to stay focused on the task at hand and push through adversity are essential skills that will help them excel as they move up in competition.

4. Keeping Things in Perspective

Sports often involve ups and downs, but it's important for young athletes to keep things in perspective when facing those highs and lows. Developing a positive attitude and keeping sight of the big picture can make all the difference.

5. Developing Leadership Skills

Being a successful athlete requires more than just physical skill – it also requires leadership qualities. By fostering an environment of trust and respect, coaches can help their players learn the skills they’ll need to become strong leaders both on and off the field.

It’s time for everyone to recognize that mental skills are just as important as physical ones in youth sports. So don’t forget to emphasize these aspects along with physical training when helping young athletes reach their full athletic potential!


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!