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How To Nurture Your Child’s Talents

Jun 20, 2024

Every parent believes that their child is capable of more, and can improve on their own individual talents and if they are self-motivated and have people of knowledge around them, they can achieve many great outcomes through sport when action is taken. 

For example, sports can lead to Sports / Academic Scholarships, a mindset for life success, optimal physical health, worldly experience, and most importantly the attributes the athlete develops from training, competing, communicating, and working alongside your team and having to self-develop on a daily basis is why it's so beneficial.



The 8 Key Areas Most Parents Want For Their Child: 

  1. Happy, confident kids.
  2. Maximize their talents and individual potential.
  3. Provide opportunities that maybe they didn’t have.
  4. Know how to help their kids achieve their own dreams.
  5. Find knowledgeable people they trust to enhance the process.
  6. More wins, help them become their best self.
  7. Provide a safe learning environment for them.
  8. Develop life skills that set them up for success in sports and life.


Some things to consider are: 

Sport develops 3 main personal traits:

  1. Self-awareness
  2. Resilience
  3. Adaptability


1. Self Awareness

When interviewing Pat Rafter’s family one by one his sisters and brothers all had a common theme agreeing his greatest gift was his self-awareness. Not one of them talked about his superior net game, not unlike Wimbledon champion Pat Cash before him, his exceptional serve placement like former world number 1 Pete Sampras, or his ability to achieve things even though he wasn’t the best junior growing up. In fact, his father was told that his son wasn’t that special by some of the best well-known coaches in Australia when asked for their opinion. This leads to the next trait. 


2. Resilience

The second trait is resilience, and this today is one of the most challenging things due to everything being accessible, instant fast-track success stories on social media and attention spans are decreasing so the need for coaches to adapt their coaching or get parents on side is even more important. Imagine if Pat Rafter decided to listen to that negative bias or to what others didn’t see in him and didn’t believe he could make it to the pros. In fact, his coach in his teen years Gary Stickler mentioned to me of late that Pat was very difficult to teach so he didn’t teach him and instead did all indirect learnings so he could make up his own mind what he wanted.

Pat wanted to be different and had determined his game was going to be a serve and volley game. What we know now is many of the most successful people have huge defunct personality types and can be what we say “ a pain in the ass to teach “ or is it just that we need to understand them best. I was watching a match with one of the players I mentored recently, and we watched a top Australian junior play a match against a difficult opponent who was giving him a very tough match and he wasn’t winning. On the change of ends, he said to his dad “ F… Off !! ”. 

I noted the whole match his father hadn’t said a word, unlike my father who was giving me hand signals still at 17 years of age and to whom I finally said “shut up“ in the crowd when I went on to win the Australian Open Juniors. I let my dad know afterward that I could do it without him disabling me but instead just supporting me. What I resonated with was that Pat Rafter, the top junior player, and I all had the determination to be more resilient and find our own way to win and at times released our tension on those close to us yet never doubted our ability and our team stayed supportive for the long road ahead until needed.

I found out later that day, that the top Aussie junior turned that match around and wore the other guy down with his ability to trust in himself, kept working at positive self-behaviour with his team on the sidelines trusting in his ability. I also got to speak with his opponent, and he was devastated as he realized, he didn’t back himself when he needed to close, and maybe if he had just slightly added some risk plays to keep the momentum going his way the loss may have been different. His coach noted that " playing safe" was his student’s default mechanism and it was letting him down as he didn’t back himself when it counted the most.    


3. Adaptability

Lastly, adaptability is a huge component when “the Shit hits the fan “as they say. Just like the top Aussie junior he could have spiraled and given up, kept whining to his dad about the other boy not making errors by enabling himself to play victim to the negative bias, and yet he decided to take more risks and keep fighting the urge to not listen to his fears that so many fall into the trap of believing. When life throws us a curveball, we have no real reason to believe we should be the best yet. There is often no clear evidence of a guaranteed outcome and when the uncertainty we face is challenging us head-on and there is nowhere to hide then we must take the challenge face on not allowing us to dig a hole in the sand and ignore it.

Learning how to take risks is what athletes practice, exploring all possibilities that may challenge them through environmental training is why we create opportunities to assist their personal development or to just learn to shift the mindset by challenging their fears and creating a basic starting point we know works when we have no answers is helpful so our ABC's of consistent habits sets this up. Maybe even a great unrelated distraction that stops the noise of negative bias taking control of our mind will help us avoid being numbed by fear or trust in what we know today is often a way to help us be able to adapt to the situation with self-confidence. 

When a parent tells me what they want for their child, what outcomes they want from investing in their sport, or how I will help them develop I let them know that the 3 main things they will get from becoming an athlete are SELF AWARENESS, RESILIENCE & ADAPTABILITY and I guarantee all these 3 things will create sensationally successful careers from sport, help your kids have more fun and fulfillment on their journey with sport and life and develop healthy relationships along the way as athletes know their best support is those who have a positive influence on them and allow them to get to know how to be the best person they can be.


Michelle Jaggard -Lai 
Sports Mentor - Founder of Jaggard Sports Mentoring

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