Post By: Nastasja Minja | Tuesday, April 28, 2020

sport psychology performance STRESS TALENT DEVELOPMENT

We are all familiar with the concept of talent. You may not know the definition by heart, but intuitively everyone understands what “talented” means. All those YouTube videos with toddlers scoring goals or painting like Picasso at the age of three. Or America's got talent show. Or maybe your neighbors' kid juggling in the backyard? Or your own kid building astonishing Lego castles before he could walk? Or maybe it's you who has always had a gift for abstract painting? The truth is we are all born with a gift. Something that we exceed in in our early years prior to any kind of encouragement from our parents or training.

“Talent is the innate skill or capability of handling a particular or different activities.”

There are many definitions of talent, but what they all have in common is the “innate” part. It refers to our “natural ability” to be good at something. To our genetic predisposition. But what comes later is the tricky part – the environment. The very reason why so many people bury their talents in their childhood memories and never get to develop them. Or try to develop them, but fail.

Now, isn't it sad to receive a gift and leave it unwrapped? Or being unable to unwrap it? Let's take a look at what are the things you can do unwrap your talents and help others do the same.

Behold the essential toolkit for talent development…

1| The Rubik's cube

Stimulate your child's brain at an early stage to fire up those neurons in various brain areas. This can be done with board games or outdoor games that consist of a balanced combination of challenge and fun. If you leave out the playful part, you are watering flowers with an empty can. In case you are an adult who would like to revisit your childhood talents, the Rubik's cube represents a challenge you need to overcome in order to reach the next level. Seek those challenges and conquer them. Remember that there are several algorithms out there for putting those colored squares in the right spots. Mindset is the KEY.

2| Piggy bank

All good things take time… and money. Make sure you fill out that piggy bank on time or find the financial resources (e.g. sponsors, patrons) as most of the activities involve some sort of equipment. From football boots, paintbrushes, books, to providing healthy meals and nutrition on a daily basis and leading a healthy lifestyle.

3| Phone book

You can never go through it alone. We are social beings and we need support from qualified others to reach our peak performance. Make sure to fill out that phone book with people that will help you or your child make that step forward. Same as professional athletes need managers, coaches, physiotherapists, nutritionists, sport psychologists, family support etc., each individual needs his circle of supporters, even in other performing arts. Surround yourself with the right people that will help you develop your skills along with a thriving mindset, and your talent will bloom.

4| Sand clock

Going back to” all good things take time”. Spend time with your child engaging in activities related to his talent. It will encourage him and make him enjoy them even more. In sport psychology we call that “intrinsic motivation”. Believe me, it is something you want your child to have. If you are not a child anymore (on the outside at least) and you have neglected the sand clock for a long time, just blow the dust off and flip it. Devote time and energy to your talent every single day.

5| White board

Last, but not least, the white board. There is no talent development without a plan and discipline. Ask Christiano Ronaldo. Or anyone else who has made it that far. Or anyone who hasn't made it that far, but made it far enough in making their talent flourish. Write down a daily plan based on your short-term and long-term goals. Focus on the task at hand and remember the Rubik cube's mindset when you stumble across adversity. Follow the daily tasks and reward yourself for completing them regularly. In case you are a toddler, cry until your parents fill the white board for you. For more information on this topic you can turn to Angela Duckworth and her concept of “grit – passion and sustained persistence”. In case she doesn't pick up the phone, get her book and find the information there.

Pick up that toolkit and take action. As George Eliot said: “It is never too late to be what you might have been.”