Youth Sports: Life Lessons on the Mental Game

The authors of “Beyond The Scoreboard” share lessons to help parents and coaches learn how to best support kids through sports

The Good Men Project


Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/USAG Humphreys

By Michael Kasdan

We’ve all seen that crazy parent, or that obsessive coach, pacing the sideline at a youth sporting event, yelling, shaking their finger after the game. We watch cringing and feeling awful for the kid and justified in our own toned-down approach to supporting our kids through sports.

But could the seemingly small things we do or say affect the mental game of our young athletes just as much as the “crazy” adults and their explosive behavior? Are words of encouragement, like, “Just go out there and try your best!” actually doing similar damage?

In his new book, Beyond the Scoreboard: Learn It Through Youth Sports, Carry It Through Life, co-authored by Celeste Romano, Dr. Nick Molinaro, a licensed psychologist who specializes in performance and sport psychology, decodes how an athlete’s environment can either positively impact their mental game or contribute to burnout, resentment, and even physical injury. From what to say after a big loss to help your child maintain their passion to how to really achieve a growth-mindset lifestyle, Beyond the Scoreboard is packed with ready-to-use pointers and insights.

Dr. Nick and Celeste sat down with Good Men Project Sports to share their insights on how parents and coaches can best help their young athletes and children. These lessons about the “mental game” and how to develop a young athlete’s mental toolbox, have an impact that stretches beyond the ball-fields.

As they told us, “When 70% of youths leave organized sports by the age of thirteen, losing out on the physical, social, and emotional benefits derived from athletic participation, we have to get serious about our approach to coaching and leading them.”

Good Men Project Sports:

Why do you think the topic of how we interact with our children in the context of youth sports is so important?

Celeste Romano:

Many sports parents I know and have witnessed seem to think the words and critiques they use are…



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