Bruce's Blog

3 Useful tips to prepare
children to compete in
school sport again…..

3 Useful tips to prepare children to compete in school sport again.

Welcome everyone to my first blog……ever! Cant wait to share my thoughts and ideas with you, hopefully its a long and mutually beneficial relationship.

So…my daughter is competing for the first time in almost two years on Friday and I thought it would make a great first blog, just to let parents out there know that they are not alone during these really strange times we are living in the moment.

All of us are riding emotional rollercoasters and we are trying to prepare our kids for…we actually have no idea…the future?

Back to this weeks topic….

My daughter is a gymnast, and if you have ever been involved in gymnastics, what a ride. She trains and trains and trains, she is 12 years old and can hold herself horizontally on a pole. She is strong, fit and extremely focused (She has to be, you try doing a cartwheel on a beam 6 inches wide and a meter from the floor).

She was competing weekly for both club and province during 2019, and was in a routine, she would practice and then use the competitions to challenge herself.

Bang….2020….nothing all sport cancelled, the world as we know it changed forever! Sport changed forever, we cant even go and support our children from the side of the field anymore, we have to drop and go.

For a year and a half she has been training three times a week, 90 minutes a day, for the hope that she might compete again, well that moment has finally arrived, but it’s brought a whole lot of new issues with it.

When were talking in the car on the way to school about her upcoming competition, I would have thought that she would have been excited, but she was a little hesitant on her replies, and after a bit of a discussion I realised that she was a little apprehensive.

After dropping her at school, I then thought about our discussion some more, here is an athlete that is used to noise and crowds, people all around her, that has to walk into a massive empty venue and perform in front of three judges, much like the olympics, at least there the fellow athletes were able to support, these poor kids are all alone.

What could I do to help her?

How could I help her navigate this next chapter, how could I help her get ready for competing again, to get her into that mindset again.

I went into my kindle library and looked through all the books I had read about self motivation and success etc… Trying to find something that would resonate with a 12year old.

In 2016 I heard about a big wave surfer from Cape Town called Chris Bertish, he won the Big Wave Surfing Mavericks in 2010, and he wrote a book called Stoked. (Check out his website www.ChrisBertish.com to buy his book and see some of the amazing things he has accomplished since then)

Stoked is the story of how a little kid from Kenilworth in Cape Town managed to travel halfway around the world without sponsorship, and then outwit, outsmart and outperform the world’s best-paid professional athletes on a day that changed his life, and the sport of

big-wave surfing, forever …

Chris’s mantra of Dream it, See it, Believe it, Achieve it is what I took as the basis for the advice I gave my daughter.

Chris summarises his principles into three: Ready (dream and vision); Steady (prepare and stay focused on the task ahead); Go

Bruce’s summary of Chris’s Summary: 😀

Ready (Dream it)

  • Start with a vision, the thing that lights the fire, for my daughter it’s gymnastics.
  • The only decision you have to make is wether you have the heart to follow your dreams and the courage to make them happen.
  • Visualise obstacles and see yourself overcoming them (The various apparatus)
  • Through mental preparation you are then ready for the physical challenge when it comes.
  • If you believe in something strongly enough you can and will make it happen.
  • Dedication to your dreams also means sacrifice, so decide beforehand what sacrifices you are prepared to make in order to live or achieve your dreams.
  • You need to hold onto your vision through your training and preparation stages.
  • It can be tough, there are times where you will be tempted to give up-especially when you hit obstacles and distractions, that’s when you have to dig deep, stay focused and persevere.

Steady (See it, Believe it)

  • Visualise the prize so clearly that you can see it, feel it, hear it, taste it.
  • Preparation, planning, training, determination and perseverance are the keys to success.
  • Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.
  • Research and know your environment.
  • Physical fitness breeds confidence so train properly.
  • Don’t ever neglect nutrition, you have got to put back in to get out.
  • Plan for the worst and hope for the best.
  • Obstacles are nothing more than opportunities.
  • Pain is temporary, but the regret of quitting lasts longer.
  • People can find 100 reasons why they cant do something, all you need to do is find one reason why you can, and focus on that.
  • Every one of us has the ability to achieve more than we believe.
  • What you believe, you achieve, what you don’t, you won’t.

Stoked (Achieve it)

  • You have prepared, dreamed and planned, now comes the hard part, facing the challenge.
  • Fear is normal, natural, however if you don’t conquer your fear, your fear will conquer you.
  • If you confront your fears first you will find that being comfortable with your fears they will help you rather than hinder you.
  • A problem is like a boomerang, it keeps coming back to you, a problem faced, no matter how big or small, becomes a problem solved.
  • Seize every opportunity you can.
  • Don’t be scared to make mistakes, a mistake is only a mistake if you make it twice.

I hope this helps those parents out there battling with the same question I was, please I am no expert, just a dad who is trying to help.

Let me know in the comments your thoughts and feelings.

Please don’t forget to go to www.Chrisbertish.com to support an amazing guy.

I created some cards I made for my daughter to remember the principals if you would like to download them for free please follow the link below “Ready, Steady, Stoked!”

Take care

Bruce