Sports dad Nathan gives his daughters the mental tools they need to succeed as athletes and in life with the ECP.
“What's crazy is we send these kids to all of these sports specialists. They've got trainers, personal trainers and everything else. And we think, okay, she needs to get in the gym and shoot more, or she needs to lift weights more, or she needs to go to this specialist, but it's not all of that. It's the mental side of it.”
- Nathan, ‘girl dad.’
Nailing it in practice but holding back in the game.
Proud "girl dad", Nathan, is a rancher and former coach with four daughters, all into various sports from basketball to golf to donkey training. Coming from a sporting background and playing himself in college, Nathan appreciates that the challenge of being an athlete extends beyond physical training.
"I've always been interested in the mental aspect. And I've always thought great coaches were also great psychologists."
Despite having a coaching background, Nathan stays out of that role with his daughters. He considers it essential for them to train independently and have their own space. Seeing his responsibility more as providing mental and emotional support, “I leave the coaching to the coach,” Nathan says, “ I just try to be there for them.”
So when he noticed basketballer daughter Presley doing 300 makes in practice but holding back during a game, he knew there was an underlying mental aspect that needed addressing.
“Presley was nailing it in practice, then getting out there in a game, and it's like a different player.”
"She's a shooter; she could shoot the lights out. But she wasn't being a shooter during the game and was hesitant to make mistakes." Nathan explains, "When Presley did make a mistake, it would get at her for the entire game. She wasn't turning loose; she was thinking too much instead of just playing the game."
ECP: The right direction for dad and his daughters
Searching for a solution, Nathan googled sports psychology, watched videos and read literature, but the lack of detail and structure in the information frustrated him. So discovering The Elite Competitor Program was like a bright light in the dark, and he knew it was the right direction for him and his daughters.
The Elite Competitor Program caters to both the athlete and their parents. Targeted training modules and techniques from both program streams work hand in hand to elevate the performance and strengthen the competing teen athlete's mental game with their parents' support.
"If I had known all this when I was playing college," Nathan says, "I would have been so much better; it would have helped me so much."
"What's crazy is we send these kids to all of these sports specialists. They've got trainers, personal trainers and everything else. And we think, okay, she needs to get in the gym and shoot more, or she needs to lift weights more, or she needs to go to this specialist, but it's not all of that. It's the mental side of it."
"The mental and emotional part in sports is 90% of the game. If you've got a kid that's solid mentally, they'll be good."
Presley jumped at the opportunity to improve her game as the type of athlete driven to be better no matter what it takes.
"That's just her personality. She doesn't have a lot of ego; she wants to do whatever it takes to get better."
Presley started putting the techniques of the ECP into practice immediately. The training modules in the ECP guided Presley to develop a unique-to-her ‘snap back routine’ that helps her to move on when things don't go right and not get caught up in a bad play.
Dad Nathan also quickly started seeing the shift, "The biggest thing I noticed is just her immediate ability to just switch it, forget about it and move on to the next play."
"We talked about when she would make a mistake, just flush it. I would watch her out there playing, and she would miss like two shots in a row. And as she's running back to play defense, she'll do the hand motion of flushing it. So every time she makes a mistake, it's very subtle, but it clicks in our mind — Flush it, next play."
The ECP is unique in the sense that it builds the mental skills and strengths of the daughter as well as their mom.
Amelia worked through the modules from an athlete's point of view, learning strategies to help her perform under pressure, recover quickly from mistakes and let go of anxiousness, perfectionism and comparison.
Colleen participated in parent-focused coaching sessions, the Sports Moms Inner Circle, learning different frameworks for positively interacting with her daughter before, during and after games and so much more.
"Hearing about other moms' journeys with their daughters has been insightful, even with a different sport. It's still the same mental process going on."
Going through the ECP gave Colleen and Amelia common ground to tackle Amelia's challenges, and celebrate her triumphs, together.
"The ECP gave us a language in which Amelia and I can converse about things. And it's a language that doesn't make me sound like 'that' parent or the one constantly nagging, saying the wrong things, or putting undue pressure on her. It's language to help instil that confidence in her. That has been priceless to me."
“Because of ECP, all of it improved… not only athletically.”
Presley's dream is to play at an elite level. She's only in her junior year, but after attending two successful camps, she got offers of an athletic scholarship from both.
"She sees her dreams beginning to come true. It's been fun and really exciting for her."
Having a shared language and understanding from ECP has also enhanced their relationship.
"We've always had a great relationship, but it's now even better," Nathan says, "I can speak the same jargon that she gets from the ECP, and we can stay on the same page."
“I think athletics teaches kids more than anything that they'll learn academically in school to prepare them for the rest of their life. Because they will experience hardship, they will do things the right way and still not get what they want. I want them to have all those experiences in athletics, and that transfers directly into life. In life, you work hard to do things the right way. And sometimes, you just don't get it.
In the ECP, Presley is learning how to deal with that, overcome it and focus on the process.”
The life-wide impact of the ECP for Presley has been nothing short of miraculous from Nathan's perspective.
"Because of ECP, all of it improved. Her grades and her relationships, not only athletically. It's changed her whole personality. Now, she's really focused on the mental side of everything across the board. It's really been great for her."