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Bring Your
     

Bring Your "A" Game: A Young Athlete's Guide to Mental Toughness

by Jennifer L. Etnier, Dominy Alderman (Illustrator)
 

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Mental training is just as important as physical training when it comes to success in sport. And like physical fitness, mental toughness is something that can be taught and learned. Yet many young athletes have not learned the psychological skills needed to develop their best game. This book was written specifically for young athletes interested in improving their

Overview

Mental training is just as important as physical training when it comes to success in sport. And like physical fitness, mental toughness is something that can be taught and learned. Yet many young athletes have not learned the psychological skills needed to develop their best game. This book was written specifically for young athletes interested in improving their performance and reaching their potential in sport.

Bring Your "A" Game introduces key strategies for mental training, such as goal setting, pre-performance routines, confidence building, and imagery. Each of the seventeen chapters focuses on a single mental skill and offers key points and exercises designed to reinforce the concepts. The book encourages athletes to incorporate these mental skills into their daily lives and practice sessions so that they become second nature during competition.

Whether used at home by student athletes or assigned by coaches as part of team development, Bring Your "A" Game will help young performers develop a plan for success and learn to deal with the challenges of pursuing excellence in sport.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Offers strategies for junior- and high-school athletes to reach their potential through mental training. . . . The advice is concrete and clearly rooted in the author's wide experience.—Kirkus Reviews

Bring Your 'A' Game offers young athletes . . . a nice primer for mental training. . . . [A] great first step . . . helping young 'achievers' understand the mental aspect of their game or other activity.—PA West Touchline

Teaches how to implement the mental skills that contribute to mental toughness. . . . While [it] is written for the young athlete, adults who work with young people will also find it helpful.—ForeWord

Children's Literature - Greg M. Romaneck
Have you ever watched a sporting event and seen a player you thought looked defeated before the game even started? While sitting in the stands have you ever wondered why some athletes are able to handle adversity while others crumble? Do you ever attend games and listen to the negative comments that players hear from the crowd and wonder how they affect their performance? In Bringing Your "A" Game sports psychologist Dr. Jennifer L. Etnier addresses some of the common issues linked to mental preparation that face athletes. Aimed at a junior high school through high school audience, Dr. Etnier's comprehensive look into the mind of athletes also has value to non-athletes as well. Throughout this research-based yet very practical work, the author presents realistic scenarios that can affect an athlete's preparation and performance. Sections dealing with mental imagery, handling stress, coping with external expectations, goal setting, and self-talk are all typical of the content of this engaging and valuable book. In each chapter, the author discusses the problems an athlete can face, how the use of a preparatory skill can be of benefit, practical tools to monitor skill usage, and a concise action summary. Throughout the book the subject matter is made whole through real life examples drawn from the experiences of professional and amateur athletes. In the end, Bringing Your "A" Game is a valuable tool not only for the improvement of athletes but also for coaches, parents, and youngsters in general who are interested in self-improvement through metacognitive practices. Reviewer: Greg M. Romaneck
VOYA - Erin Wyatt
Identifying a dearth of sports psychology information and training for younger athletes, this guide is dedicated to developing skills needed in order to improve mental toughness, a critical component for success in sports. After beginning with the necessary ingredients for performing at a high level in sport, the chapters then delve into specific mental aspects of being a competitive athlete including goal setting, positive self-talk, energy management, and avoiding burnout. Each chapter ends with a summary and an activity that invites the reader to reflect on the main point of the chapter and apply that knowledge to his or her own life in the form of a worksheet or a list of questions for consideration. The book is readable and pulls examples of elite athletes from a wide variety of sports. The voice is directed toward the young athlete as if the writer is speaking directly to the reader. The illustrations do not seem to match the tone and the book's target audience, featuring drawings of athletes who look quite young. This case is particularly evident where the captions indicate that the person pictured is supposed to represent a professional athlete, as in the case of Muggsy Bouges. For athletes who are driven toward success or for coaches who work with young athletes, it would prove a helpful guide. In fact, many of the points made could apply to any field of endeavor. Reviewer: Erin Wyatt
Kirkus Reviews
Armed with the conviction that young athletes can benefit from "sport psychology knowledge," Etnier, an associate professor of exercise and sport science, offers strategies for junior- and high-school athletes to reach their potential through mental training. Chapter topics include "self-talk," energy management, burnout, confidence building and management and dealing with parents. The advice is concrete and clearly rooted in the author's wide experience. Though activities, exercises and "key points" help to break up the text, page layout is dense and uninviting, the black-and-white illustrations cartoonish and the prose wordy and, at times, full of jargon: "Negative predictions that you make in your self-talk can create reality, and then the outcome reinforces your negative prediction." Still, young athletes and their parents and coaches can sift through the information and find useful advice to ensure that mental training goes hand in hand with physical training. (Nonfiction. 10 & up)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780807859902
Publisher:
The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date:
12/15/2009
Edition description:
1
Pages:
216
Sales rank:
117,786
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range:
10 - 13 Years

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
I have found that the first step in building a championship team is to get each individual player to think like a champion. Jennifer Etnier's Bring Your 'A' Game is essential reading for any young athlete who dreams of playing at the highest level.—Anson Dorrance, women's soccer coach, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Meet the Author

Jennifer L. Etnier is associate professor of kinesiology at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. A soccer player and former coach, she leads sport psychology seminars for the United States Soccer Federation and is a consultant to professional athletes.

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