Teen Athletes' View of Success Affected by Parents, Peers
WebMD News Archive
"One of the interesting findings in this study was that there was little
difference between boys and girls in task or ego orientation," Ian Tofler,
MD, tells WebMD. Tofler, the co-chair of the sports psychiatry committee of the
American Association of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and a consulting
psychiatrist at Children's Hospital in Los Angeles, tells WebMD that a certain
amount of parental pride in children's athletic accomplishments is normal.
However, parents should avoid becoming overly invested in their children's
achievements, particularly in athletics, because this stance can actually harm
children by encouraging them to perform despite injuries and fatigue.
In an accompanying article in the same issue, Gershon Tenenbaum and
colleagues found that athletes were more likely to improve their performance if
they had attainable goals than if they were to simply give their best efforts
toward unattainable goals. In this analysis of previously obtained data, the
researchers from Israel and Australia found that easy and difficult goals that
were realistic were the most beneficial ones, compared with very difficult and
unattainable goals and "do your best" goals.
- Whether teen athletes believe their success is defined by how well they
perform or by winning, they are likely to have peers who support the same view,
according to a recent study.
- Those who define success as winning can become discouraged in adverse
situations, while those who focus on performance will continue to do well.
- In another study, athletes with realistic goals were more likely to improve
than athletes who had unrealistic or 'do your best' goals.