Johnny was a gifted athlete who excelled at many sports. In particular, he was passionate about playing baseball. However, Johnny did not cope well when he would commit an error while playing shortstop. He would sulk, hang his head and become unfocused. Johnny’s inability to recover while transitioning between the field and batting was very noticeable to his teammates, coaches and parents. He revealed that he did not like the feeling associated with shutting down and realized that his breakdowns in the field were affecting not only his defensive play, but also his hitting. After much protesting, Johnny opened himself to the possibility of re-thinking his approach. He was not happy about getting stuck and not being able to shake the shutdown mood.

For Johnny, it made sense to focus on self-control, breathing and viewing the bigger picture. He arrived at the understanding that he could make an error, learn, apply and move forward. Once he gave himself permission to write, “move on” under the bill of his cap, his attitude drastically improved, and he played a more relaxed game. Johnny learned how to exist “in the moment” and have fun.

A key component to his success was convincing his parents to “buy into” responsibility-taking. That is, engaging with positive reinforcement and ignoring the negative. The minute Johnny’s parents placed that responsibility on his shoulders, Johnny adopted and practiced a more relaxed approach.

Johnny committed himself to practicing, “move on”. This tool freed him and allowed him to embrace other tools to help improve his game. Johnny’s parents witnessed the real benefits in pushing Johnny to slow things down, find solutions and keep his feet on the ground. With expectations, structure and positive messaging, the parents were able to give Johnny a foundation in order to work through his challenges. Johnny witnessed the value of practicing and smiled more.

Parents need to facilitate a practice setting in order for children to practice their repetitions. Through repetitions, good habits will be gained.