Sports Psychology Made Easy – And Fun
Nicklaus Kruger 20 December 2020
Sports aren’t just about having the biggest biceps, or the fastest legs, or even the best hand-eye coordination. They’re also about mental skills – and that’s exactly what you’ll find in Sport Psychology for Children, a book to help young athletes excel.
Sports aren’t just about having the biggest biceps, or the fastest legs, or even the best hand-eye coordination. There’s more to being an athlete than just physical skills, and young sportsfolks who also develop and improve their mental skills can enhance their sport experience and possibly performance.
And that’s exactly what they’ll find in Sport Psychology for Children – a book that should be part of every young athlete’s sport preparation.
“Physicality is just one part of playing sport,” says the book’s author, Dr Denise Bouah. “A lot of young athletes – and their parents – focus only on winning and are devastated when they don’t win. Having a good repertoire of mental skills enables a young athlete to deal with losses and feeling pressured to win. They learn that there are other components to performance as well – and that it’s important that they actually enjoy their sport.”
Sport Psychology for Children was written for children who want to learn more about the mental side of sport performance. Children get to journey with Jad, Xena, Chika, Bob and other characters through their sport adventures and experiences as they come to learn that there is more to sport performance than just the physical component.
Dr Bouah knows what she’s talking about. A specialist in sport psychology who runs a private practice in Bellville, Cape Town, she also has firsthand experience of the subject matter: she’s a respected coach and a celebrated athlete: three-time South African Woman Chess Champion and a Woman International Master in Chess.
“It wasn’t easy to keep my training and performance on a good level during my study years, and married life, and all the other ups and downs that came my way,” she says. “But I’m glad that I remained focused and rather found a way to balance all aspects of my life. And I’d like to be able to help others achieve that balance as well.”
So she combined her passion for children, sport psychology, animals and writing – and Sport Psychology for Children was the result.
The book is written in everyday language, and addresses 10 main mental sport concepts.
“Children will learn what sport psychology is, and what is meant by mental toughness and mental skills,” Dr Bouah explains. “They will also explore the concepts of mindfulness; anxiety (especially pre-game anxiety); being disciplined; values in sport; habits and how they work; leadership; goal setting; and how to deal with a loss or mistake.”
Sport & Life: Advice For Athletes Of All Ages
Lessons learned in this book are not restricted to just sport, they can be used in other areas of a child’s life too.
“We sometimes forget that athletes have personal lives as well,” Dr Bouah says. “We see them as role models but forget that they also need to deal with things like family matters, relationship issues, work-related problems, and so on. By teaching children to think about their psychological states, you put them in a position to emotionally process what they are experiencing on a physical level – on and off the field.”
But it’s not just for the kids. Coaches, parents and teachers can benefit from this book as well – and so can adult athletes..
“Sport participation is a lifelong pursuit for many people, especially with people becoming more active and appreciating the value of being fit and healthy,” Dr Bouah notes. “And as athletes, we need to understand that our lives keep evolving. So we need to have our goals clearly marked so we don’t get sidetracked before we achieve them.”
So what advice does Dr Bouah have for athletes, young and old?
“Work hard, and continue to work hard,” she says. “Don’t give up just because you had a bad game, or even had a few of them. And at the end of the day, take time out to reflect on your dreams and passions, and enjoy what you are busy with. Life is too short to spend it feeling miserable.”
Sport Psychology For Kids is an A4 size, 220 page colour illustration, long-term investment – and an excellent holiday gift. You can find out more at https://www.denisebouah.com/ and purchase copies by contacting the author at denise.LDbooks@gmail.com.