When my son Oliver was about 12 years old, he began playing Pee Wee football. While he was actually one of the better players on the team in practice, he rarely played well in the games. After a few conversations, it became apparent that the problem was he was absolutely terrified of messing up, particularly as his coaches kept telling him that making even one mistake could cost his team the game.
In 30+ years of coaching humans (and 50+ years of being one), it’s become obvious to me that one of the reasons people avoid doing things is because they’re terrified about what seem to be the momentous consequences of their success or failure with the task at hand.
My parental “intervention” with Oliver was simply to show him one of my favorite video clips and encourage him to use the mantra shared in the video as his own. He did, and while it didn’t turn him into an NFL superstar, it certainly helped him be as good in the games as he was in practice and even begin to enjoy himself in the process.
Here’s the clip – it’s just over two minutes long and worth every second of your time…
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With all my love,
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