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Tip for living: 'Parent Pep Talks' offers tips for helping young athletes

By Elizabeth Reid

For the Deseret News

Published: Wednesday, Sept. 11 2013 5:00 a.m. MDT

Parenting an athletic child can be both rewarding and confusing. Parents, wanting to help, may wonder where the line is between motivating and nagging their children.

“Parent Pep Talks” (Plain Sight Publishing, $12.99) by Justin Su’a, teaches parents mental skills to help their children “succeed in school, sports and life.” Su’a, who has presented at Especially for Youth and Brigham Young University's Campus Education Week, shares personal examples as well as stories from performers he has helped in the past.

Following are some of the foundations in his new book:

  • Motivation. There are six levels of motivation, and it is important to help children realize what drives them to compete. This understanding can then help them learn how to motivate themselves.
  • Optimism. Young athletes can be more effective by changing their mind frame in difficult situations. By looking past the negativity of failures they can enjoy positive learning experiences.
  • Aim high. Success happens when children are taught to make their goals happen, instead of merely hoping they will happen. Parents can help their children “recalculate” through potential setbacks in order to achieve their dreams.
  • Calm down. It can be difficult to perform under pressure. Young athletes can perform better when they are taught to focus on the things they can control and let go of the things they can’t.
  • Failing. When competing, it is important to have a plan for future failures. When this plan is in place, children can gain needed skills to ultimately become successful.
  • Confidence. There is power in both negative and positive self-talk. Through imagery and positive self-talk, parents can teach their children to have confidence in their abilities and succeed athletically.
“Parent Pep Talks” is a clean and uplifting book, helpful for anyone who deals with children.

Justin Su’a was an All-American pitcher for Brigham Young University. He received a master's degree in the psycho-social aspects of sports from the University of Utah. He lives in Florida with his wife and three children.

Elizabeth Reid has bachelor's degrees in economics and history. She has worked in retail, medical billing, catering, education and business fields. Her favorite occupation is that of wife and mother. She can be reached at bizziereid@gmail.com

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