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Motivating the "Gamer" - Racer X Virtual Trainer

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This article comes to you from our friends at the Millsaps Training Facility. The Millsaps Training Facility or MTF as it is commonly known is one of the premier motocross training facilities in America. Owned and operated by Colleen Millsaps, MTF combines the latest in sport science technologies with over a decade of experience to offer complete motocross training programs for riders of all ages and abilities. MTF’s structured riding programs are under the direction of Colleen Millsaps and her riding programs have proven to be outstandingly successful. MTF is committed to assisting the rider in every aspect of their development. They also produce a monthly newsletter filled with all sorts of rider tips and useful information. This article is one such contribution. - Virtual Trainer

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Paul Bevan-Thomas

Some children in sports are what can be called “gamers”. They love to compete and give their best effort in real competition, but hate what they see as “boring” practices. Normally, kids will figure out on their own that practice effort is required to keep improving and to keep parents happy. Or, they’ll just drop out of that sport and try something else. But some are just so darn talented that they can beat everybody without really practicing and these bad practice habits can become ingrained. As adults we all know what’s coming, the competition will catch up and the wins stop coming.

  1. This scenario can be very frustrating for parents and coaches who see a “special” talent going to waste. What to do? As mentioned above most kids will figure it themselves but parents can do a few things too. Here is a list of ten things you can do to motivate your young rider. Make sure to praise, reward and generally make a big deal out of good effort in practices. Continually explain to your young rider that natural talent and hard work are both necessary, especially as they get older and on bigger bikes. [Hence the saying, "Hard work beats talent when talent hardly works" - Virtual Trainer]
  2. Because good effort in practice is “expected” it’s easy to overlook. Remember to praise and reward practice effort (sometimes subtly, sometimes overtly).
  3. As they get older you should of course become tougher on a lack of effort in practice, even to the point of removing the one thing the child craves more than anything, competing. Always keep in mind though that kids can have bad days just like us adults!
  4. If there is push back, for instance, “OK well I hate this sport anyway”, call their bluff. Just say, “OK then. I can sell these bikes and we’ll all do something else on the weekend”. Most times they’ll come around but if not it was probably never going to work anyway.
  5. Try to get your child with a coach who promotes a love of the sport especially at that critical age of 10-12 when most sports require kids to get more serious. This coach should be able to keep it fun while still teaching. Great coaches are hard to find but ask around and be prepared to drive a little further if necessary.
  6. Talk to the coach about adding more competitive opportunities within practices.
  7. Another tactic is to ask the coach to explain to your child exactly how new skills will help them be more successful. Good coaches will do this but many will not.
  8. Take your kid to a pro sports practice or competition and have him or her watch some big names working at their sport.
  9. In extreme cases, where the rider is so talented but just will not give effort in practice, you might consider working with the coach to redesign his or her program. Perhaps concentrate practices into shorter time periods or take longer training breaks.
  10. When dealing with your kid, act like they’re someone else’s!

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A “gamer” can be difficult to coach and parent. But with the help of these ten tips even the most highly talented rider can be made to understand the importance of hard work.

Good luck

Paul Bevan-Thomas

That's it for now, until next time, good luck with your training and remember, if you have a question, log on to the Virtual Trainer Expert Forum and have your question answered by a panel of experts. In addition, be sure and check out the Racer X Virtual Trainer archive section. Your complete one-stop information zone for motocross fitness. VT Signature