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Nurturing Strong Relationships: Student-Athletes


Here at Untapped Learning, we understand the importance of your children excelling not just on the field but also in school and at home. A critical part of this success that is often overlooked is the role of executive function in shaping high-quality relationships. The term ‘executive function’ is the collective term for many necessary mental skills like task initiation, impulse control, and organization. All of these skills are critical for building strong relationships with others. 

A major part of executive function is emotional regulation. Handling our feelings and acting the right way around others is vital to maintaining personal relationships. For example, if your teen can control their emotions well, they can deal with the stress of games, schoolwork, and hanging out with friends without getting overwhelmed. Controlling our reactions to our emotions is also necessary in competitive scenarios. If an athlete can’t control their feelings, they will not be able to be successful on the field. 

Another critical skill is planning and organization. This isn’t just about keeping track of homework and practice times. It also means understanding what other people need and making time for them. When your child learns to manage their time well, they can meet all their responsibilities and still have time for family and friends. 

These skills don’t just matter in our personal lives – they’re also crucial for jobs. Starting tasks on time and managing time well are huge for meeting deadlines and working with others. If your kid can do these things, they’ll be better at leading teams, finishing projects, and getting along with their coworkers when they grow up. 

So, how can you help your student athlete develop these important skills? Here are a few ideas:

  • Practice handling big feelings – Have open chats about emotions and teach simple tricks like deep breathing or mindfulness.
  • Get organized – Use planners or phone apps to keep track of schedules and learn to prioritize what’s important.
  • Practice starting tasks on time – Break big jobs into smaller parts to make them less overwhelming and easier to start.
  • Think before acting – Encourage your teen or tween to pause and think before reacting to things. This can help prevent misunderstandings and earn trust in relationships.

In a nutshell, these executive function skills are like the glue that holds our relationships together. By helping our student-athletes get good at them, we’re not just setting them up for success in sports and school – we’re also giving them the tools to build solid and lasting bonds with the people around them.

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