How To Keep Your Athlete Focused On The Dream…Not COVID19

Today, I want to give you a few ideas on how you can help keep your athlete focused on the dream…not COVID-19. We need to make sure we can keep our athletes focused at all times. COVID-19, what a hot topic, and it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere soon. My least favourite word at the moment is “unprecedented”, but that’s where we are, we’re in unprecedented times.

No one knows what the heck lies ahead. All we can do is keep our athletes focused, moving in a forward direction, and not let them see us struggling with the uncertainty. We can get involved and work through this with our athletes which will not only help our athletes but ourselves as parents also. Read on for how you can help keep your athlete focused on the dream…not COVID19.

Rewards & Incentives

So, first of all, what you can do is use a rewards system. How can we keep them focused? Incentives! They’re teenagers. They love incentives. Start with a daily prize, or a weekly prize, a reward they can have for accomplishing certain steps, reaching milestones, and completing tasks. Use a rewards system, and challenge them. Challenge them to finish their mission, make it a game if you have to, but really put it out there that this is a challenge. Help them see that if they get through this, it’s a real opportunity for them to gain a competitive edge. If they continue to work hard and make it to the other side, they are the ones that are going to go past the post shining.

Keep Moving Forward

Your athlete will be going awesome places, to the college of their choice, because they continued to work hard, stay focused and keep their eye on the prize. Give them an incentive to keep hitting those tasks and keep moving forward. No two steps forward, three steps back. None of that business. We’re just moving in a forward direction, travelling steady, just as first planned. Challenge them to complete their mission and use this time as a gift. Isolation is nasty. There’s no doubt about it. It can be really, really tough. What’s worse is it can play with our mental health. However, we need to look at the positives that come with this, and that is time. Your athlete has time to stay focused on the dream…not COVID19.

We have a great support network of parents and elite athletes in our private Facebook community, College Bound Athletes. Come on over and join us here, so we can help you and your athlete through this strange time.

The Gift of Time

You now have time to sort through things properly and get the job done right the first time. A chance to come out on the other side, ready to hit the ground running and face whatever is thrown your athlete’s way. While isolation is hard, it is time. It’s a time your athlete, and you as a parent, have been given, that you wouldn’t otherwise have. Now is the time to buckle down and work out a plan.

Coaches Are In Isolation Too

It’s not just us that are in isolation. Your athlete’s entire audience who they want to be in front of is online right now. This is the time to get in there and really make your athlete visible to all those people that are online right now. There’s coaches, sporting directors, admissions staff, and teachers all online right now, catching up on work. They have also been given this gift of time. Your athlete’s target audience is looking in places they wouldn’t normally look for possible recruits. They have an opportunity to look at students and athletes they have never heard of. It’s a matter of whose creating the most visibility in order to be noticed online consistently.

Everyone your athlete wants to be in front of are waiting for them to pop up on their screens. They have been given this gift of time, just as we have. Everyone’s online. This is the time to be visible, to work hard and not drop the ball. Admissions staff can look thoroughly right now for talent. They have time to sift through applications and look at possible recruits. They have a chance to look at those student-athletes that could be coming through in the next few years after the COVID craziness has subsided, disappeared, and out the door for good. Coaches will be looking for those athletes who focused on the dream…not COVID19.

Opportunities Everywhere

That’s when your athlete will be coming through ready for college. It gets me excited because there is so much potential sitting on the table right now. While it seems crazy and nobody knows what’s going on and there’s a lot of negativity surrounding college sports, there is so much opportunity on the table to be seen. Keep your athlete working hard, keep them focused on that dream, not COVID-19. There’s nothing we can do about the situation right now, but keeping them focused and excited about what lays in the future is something you can still do. There’s so much opportunity out there that now is the time to go out and start leveraging them.

If you would like my help sourcing and securing numerous opportunities for your athlete, we have a new masterclass kicking off on the 28th of September 2020 at 8 AM. If you register before the 1st of September, you will qualify for an early bird bonus. You can register here.

What Coaches Want

When it’s time for your athlete to leave for college and they’ve been in front of coaches, admissions staff, and sporting directors all this time, they’re straight in the door. I can tell you now they will be straight in the door because they are the ones that buckled down, worked hard, and did what they needed to do to achieve their dream. That’s what coaches want, they want athletes who are driven, who are working hard, keeping focused, and who can work through challenges. These are the attributes that coaches are looking for. Now is definitely not the time to be snoozing a holiday away. This is not a holiday. You must remind your athletes of that. Now, some really great ways that you can help your athlete to maintain that focus:

Vision Boards

Creating vision boards are a fantastic way to maintain focus. Do a big old vision board that sits at the end of your athlete’s bed or in their room somewhere. Place it where they can’t miss it. They will wake up and look at it every morning. They can look at it every evening before they go to sleep. Vision boards can be so much fun to create and watching them come to life is exciting. They help maintain focus and they can see they need to have smaller achievable steps on the way to success. Looking at the vision board every morning helps them work on focus as soon as they wake up and it promotes dreaming about what they need to do to get out there and make things happen. Your athlete will know what they have to do to stay focused on the dream…not COVID19.

Virtual Parties

Another idea is to help them get involved with online study parties. These can be a lot of fun. There are so many different chat rooms your athlete can be involved in that have people, other students, and other student-athletes that are studying the same subjects. Online study parties are a great way for your athlete to meet other teenagers who have the same kind of dreams. Other students who want to move in the same direction. They all help keep each other focused, motivated, keep the wheel turning, and the cart going in a forward direction.

Help your athlete get involved in study parties because number one, it’s going to help them with academics, number two, they’re going to be with likeminded people that will help keep each other focused, and number three, it will help them build confidence and courage to keep moving forward. They know they’ve got a whole other group of people that are going through the same thing and want to be moving in the same direction. They can motivate each other in a positive way.

Virtual Bootcamps

You can then go one step further and create virtual Bootcamps. These are also a lot of fun. There are tons out there, especially right now because health and fitness are really important while we’re going through this crazy time. Health and fitness are huge. We need to make sure we are healthy emotionally, physically, and mentally. There are virtual Bootcamps out there for people to keep active. The best thing about it, your athlete can find virtual Bootcamps that are at their level. There are all different levels. Whatever your athletes level is, they will find a virtual Bootcamp to suit them. They can have so much fun in these groups and the bonus is having other people there to exercise with. Other athletes who are also focused on the dream…not COVID19.

Don’t Be Lonely In Isolation

Exercise in isolation can be very lonely and virtual Bootcamps can help solve that problem. You can also have a good conversation with your athlete’s coach and build your own virtual Bootcamp together. Invite your athlete’s friends, teachers, coaches, and whoever else they would like to include. It’s a lot of fun. And again, it’s going to help keep them motivated. They’ve got other people that they’re able to participate with. Now it’s not such a lonely exercise, and they’re able to focus on health and fitness.

Then don’t forget to include incentives. Put up a virtual boot camp prize, make it a competition. Include some fun incentives to keep the participants going and entice them to attend. Whoever does a certain amount of repetitions in a certain amount of time wins the prize. People are going to jump on it because everybody loves to win a prize.

If they are health and fitness fanatics, they are getting a triple dose of goodness. They’re getting health, fitness, and they could win a prize. It’s a lot of fun. I do understand it’s hard right now because you can’t let your athlete go out for a weekend as a reward for doing their academics or meeting a certain task. However, there are still things you can reward them with, Eg. let them pick dinner for the night or let them go on an online shopping spree. Give them extra online time. There are so many different things we can still do to reward them while we’re in isolation. 

Motivational Stories

Another good thing to help keep your athlete-focused are motivational stories. It can be hard to get our athletes to read a book, especially with all the textbooks they have, the reading they already do, and the heavy study loads they have, but if they start to read college sports success stories, or a story about their favourite sports professional, or any kind of motivational story, it can help them get those juices flowing in the belly. They will remember what they want to achieve, where they want to be, and what they need to do to get there. Your athlete will realise they can’t drop the ball now. It’s time to focus on the dream…not COVID19.

Book Club & Report

Suggest having an online book club. Get the athletes they know involved and exchange good professional sports stories or college sports success stories. You could ask your athlete to do a mini book report at the end. It doesn’t have to be very long, maybe a paragraph. If they’re struggling a little bit with literature and writing,  this can really help them. They will get a motivational story and writing a mini-book report at the end that will help you identify if they understand what they’re reading, and can express it in writing. It can also help encourage them to take time away from the screen.

There’s a lot of screen time going on right now, so encouraging them to take time away from the screen by reading a book, or writing is a good idea. There’s not enough writing these days. Primarily I am a writer. I love to write. Sometimes it feels like a dying art. Encourage your athlete to do a mini book report and give them an incentive. Take notice and ensure they are comprehending what they’re reading.

Fan Club

My next suggestion is to get them a fan club going. This is another super fun activity. You can do this part behind their back. Totally surprise them with a fan club. Get family, friends, coaches, teachers, and whoever else is perfect for your athletes support network. When you create a fan club, the members can post little motivational and inspirational messages, congratulatory messages, and you can post updates on where your athlete is on their journey. Members can follow your athlete’s journey, and when you show your athlete, they can contribute also.

To be able to see how much support they have behind them is massive. I know from being an athlete myself, when you have so much encouragement going on, you have this adrenaline and it keeps you going forward. It’s the best feeling for an athlete to know they have a big support network. You can create a fan club together, but I find it really fun to do behind their back then surprise them with it. The look on their face is priceless, and they get so much out of it. A vision board will help keep your athlete focused on the dream…not COVID19.

Praise

My next suggestion is to make sure you are praising your athlete all the time. It means so much coming from your parents. Even if they’ve had a bad day, you need to give them something positive.Praise them, tell them, “Hey, it’s a bad day, but Gosh, you’ve been doing a fantastic job. You’ve worked so hard. You’ve achieved so much already. This is just a little bump in the road”. keep that praise, encouragement, and positivity going. And that’s going to keep their confidence and focus where it needs to be.

Know The Curriculum

Another thing to consider that will help your athlete maintain focus is to know their curriculum. Read their curriculum and try to understand the study methods they use and the terminology. Try to understand the curriculum because your athlete is going to need you to know where they’re at and what they’re talking about. Keeping up to date with the curriculum is going to help you be involved in their studies and help them keep moving in the right direction.

Messaging Systems

My next idea is to have messaging systems in place for your athlete. You could use apps such as messenger on Facebook, or many other free messaging platforms, and have a message group so you can be in contact with coaches, teachers, and guidance officers. This way you will be up to date, and you’re going to know where your athlete is, and what they need to be doing. If there are particular areas they need to focus on, having messaging systems in place is second to none because it is real-time communication. It’s real-time communication that you weren’t using before. And you’re going to find it is much more effective in helping you get involved in your athlete’s everyday schooling, and what they need to understand.

All Systems In Place

I’m a university graduate. My son who is in year seven brings home stuff that I look at and I’m like, “what the heck! I have no idea what I am looking at”. I thought I was relatively smart and I can’t understand year 7 math. Everything is always changing. So we need to have those messaging systems in place, work out the curriculum, and make sure they’re hitting those goals.

Create virtual Hangouts, not just for your athlete, but also for you. Join some virtual Hangouts with other parents that are going through exactly what you’re going through. There are so many groups out there, depending what level your athlete is at, and what stage of the journey they’re in. There are groups everywhere that are a great support for you as the parent. This is not an easy road. If we don’t have any systems in place, it’s chaos. If you stick with me, I’ll make sure it’s not. We will ensure your athlete is focused on the dream…not COVID19.

Schedules

Next, I would like to point out the importance of creating realistic schedules. Schedules that will fit you and your athlete’s everyday activities in it. Don’t try to squeeze an 18 hour day into an eight hour day. It won’t work, it will become chaos. Integrate your schedules so you are doing things together, where you can. Have the same sleep pattern, get up in the morning, and get together in the kitchen.

This is a great way to teach your athlete how to maintain a high nutritional breakfast. Make a good high nutritional breakfast in the morning together. Try to gel your schedules together as well as you can, but make sure they are realistic. As I said before, health and fitness are so important. If you can concentrate on that together, it’s a much easier task.

It’s Easier When You Do It Together

When you’re doing something with someone else, it’s always easier. This is a way to prepare your athlete for life in college. They will need to have a regular sleeping pattern and will need to have a good nutritional breakfast each day. Your athlete will have to keep their energy and focus throughout the day. They will also need to have realistic schedules. So this is a great chance to be preparing them for all this now.

Prepare, Learn & Grow

You are totally preparing them for the future. You will rest easy knowing when it comes time for your athlete to go to college, you won’t have to worry about them. I know we do to a certain extent, we’re parents, but we can make sure they can handle anything that is thrown their way. And that’s why we start this journey early. It’s all about preparation and readiness. It’s about being able to do the best and have the best possible outcome. Many positive outcomes.

You can learn, grow, and create together. This is a learning opportunity for you as the parent and for your athlete. Here we are learning curriculums and things that we really didn’t think we would have to learn at this stage in our lives.  Nonetheless, here we are. This is a chance to learn, together, how to create realistic schedules, how to maintain health and fitness. This is a chance to grow together as a family. You can enjoy this journey because it won’t be freaking stressful. And the best part, you guessed it, your athlete can remain focused on the dream…not COVID19.

Create Variety

My next hot tip on this topic is to create variety. Don’t focus too much on one task. If your athlete is becoming a little bit crazy, they’re not handling a certain task, or they’re getting angry and frustrated, it’s time to walk away from it. They need to walk away and shut off from that task completely. Think about something else for a while, then come back to it later.

If you are in isolation, try to get as much variety of different activities as you can. It will help your athlete maintain focus. They won’t get frustrated, flustered, and cranky. In my case, when I used to get frustrated and cranky, my parents would hear me down the road. I used to be a perfectionist. There is more chance of keeping your athlete positive and confident, rather than frustrated if you have a good variety of activities.

Mindset

It’s also my suggestion that you and your athlete are concentrating on mindset. Create a daily affirmations book together. Encourage your athlete to write something really positive about themselves every morning when they wake up. Daily affirmations help. I don’t know the science behind it, but it helps. If your athlete can wake every morning and start the day with positivity and confidence, they will be able to keep focused on the dream…not COVID19.

Create, Create, Create

Finally, what you want to do right now is get those social profiles going. Build your athlete’s sports portfolio, and fill everything with mind-blowing content. Create those awesome highlight and training videos, and have your athlete post updates on all platforms. Create mindblowing content the coaches will want to go back to time and time again because they love what they see. And as I said, they are all online now. It’s not just us, we’re not the only ones in isolation. The coaches are too. They’re there, they’re online, and they’re looking. Create those profiles, sports portfolios, videos, and all those really fun creative activities. It’s going to help keep your athlete busy, keep them focused, and keep them excited. Most importantly, it will keep your athlete focused on the dream…not COVID19.

Create A Website

They could also create a website. Creating a website, number one, will help your athlete keep busy, keep their mind busy. Bear in mind that creating a website is not easy. Mind you, our athletes could probably do it in a few minutes. It’s an activity that’s will keep their mind on something else. If they need to switch away from a certain task, they can work on creating their website.

Website creation will help build exposure for them. It also gives coaches another place to go, outside of social media, to look at what your athlete is up to, what they’ve achieved, who they are, and have a really good look. A website is like a sports portfolio, blown up by 100. If your athlete has a website link that coaches can click on, and they click on it, they will be taken to a professional and amazing website that is your athlete’s life on a golden platter. From there, your athlete will be reeling them in. Building a website will help keep your athlete focused on the dream…not COVID19.

Give Coaches Somewhere Else To Go

A website gives coaches somewhere else to go and will build your athletes confidence when they see it coming together. As they add all the amazing things they’ve done, where they’ve come from, where they are now, and where they want to be in the future, it will boost their confidence and positivity, and help keep them focused. They will forget all about this COVID-19 stuff that’s going on and keep focused. That’s what we need them to be. We need them to be focused on the dream…not COVID19.

Remind them why they want to succeed. Why do they want this so much? Where have they come from? What have they achieved? Show them their journey, show them how much they have accomplished. They are a superstar! They’ve worked so hard from such a young age to get where they are now. Show them that journey. It will boost their positivity and confidence and give them the courage to keep moving forward. They can continue to focus on the dream. They have worked way too hard to give up now, and we are not going to let them, we just need to do things a little differently.

Wrapping Up

Look at this as a gift of time to get that visibility, and get in front of coaches. It’s time to seal the deal. Challenge your athlete to complete their mission. Give them incentives, get them involved in virtual groups, and whatever else it takes to keep that laser beam focus, no matter what is going on around them. I hope this blog gives you an idea on what you can do right now to steer the journey back into a positive one. It’s crazy times, absolutely crazy times. All we can do is keep on moving, keep encouraging each other, and keep that positivity going. It is so important that we help our athlete’s keep focused on the dream…not COVID19.

Now, I want to make a very big announcement right now. We are holding a brand new Masterclass on September 28th. We have official invites coming out to our members this week. If you register before September 1st, you will qualify for an early bird prize. If you are on our email list, keep an eye on your inbox for an invite in the next couple of days. Would like to register right away? You can do so here.

We are here to help, support, and guide you on this journey. Please do make sure you are reaching out at any point if you have questions, challenges, or need advice. If we can’t help you, we definitely know the direction to point you in. If you would like a connect call, just click on this link to my calendar, where you can book a time that suits you. We will connect, have a chat. In the meantime, best of luck with keeping your athlete focused on the dream…not COVID19. Yours in sport, Brooke Hamilton.

What do you find the most challenging part of securing sports scholarships and maximising opportunity from year 9 for your athlete?

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