The spoiled child will always grow into the athlete who gives up and throws in the towel at the first sign of pressure or adversity. Here is why. A child who is given everything he or she asks for never learns the important psychological skills of patience, perseverance and determination. Since they never learned delay of gratification, when faced with pressure, they will fold right away. But don't blame the child since they simply do not have the skill set to stay focused and strong. This is usually the point when they are brought to the sport psychologist's office where we face the daunting task of teaching "the will to win.”
Teaching the “will to win”
When your child asks for something, get into the habit of saying “no.” You must teach them that they must earn what they want. If they want a new jacket, say “Okay, but you must take out the garbage every week for three months to get it.” Or, if they are younger and want a new racket say "Okay, but you need to get all A’s or B's this semester in school.” It is never too early to train them that they must earn what they want. Do that and you will begin to teach them all about the will to win at tennis and at life.
Dr. Tom Ferraro
For consultations, treatment or on-site visits, contact Dr. Tom Ferraro Ph.D., Sport Psychologist, by phone at (516) 248-7189, e-mail DrTFerraro@aol.com or visit DrTomFerraro.com.