One of the great tools that young athletes can learn to use is an athlete’s journal. Some of the most famous soccer players in the world use these harbours of knowledge to help them find the success that they are looking for. It’s also common for high-level club soccer players to keep a journal.
But an athlete’s journal isn’t just for the pros or for elite club players! Children don’t even have to be old enough to write in order to keep a journal, and there are so many benefits to giving it a try.
What an Athlete’s Journal is for
An athlete’s journal gives a place for players to write down (or draw, in the case of young children) their experiences, their hopes, their dreams, their visions, their ideas, and their frustrations. The best part about these books is that a child can use them for whatever purpose suits them, allowing them to grow through their sport more effectively.
Different players might use a journal for vastly different purposes, such as:
● goal setting
● note taking
● preserving memories
A journal might be used primarily for one of these purposes, or for a combination of several. The reason for journaling might change over time, with the original purpose giving way to new ideas and motivations. There is no right or wrong way to do this, as it is nothing more or less than an expression of your child’s experience of soccer. Journals are incredibly valuable for kids, as they’re able to process emotions and reflect on what their experiences on the field are. There’s no doubt about it, keeping an athlete’s journal will deepen your child’s experience of the game.
Ideas for Getting Started
The hardest part of many things in life is knowing where to get started. Luckily, getting started with an athlete’s journal is easy and straightforward. First things first, get your child a notebook that is exclusively used for this purpose. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but the more personalised it is, the more they will connect it with the purpose of writing. Allow them to decorate it and make it their own.
Next, you’ll want to set aside a time for journaling. This might be once a week, or after every practice and game, or whenever. Kids need your support in doing this task regularly until they get used to it and are excited about the process. Regularity here is key, and it’s more likely to happen if you set up a schedule. Don’t forget to include time not only to write, but also time to go back and read what they’ve written before, so that they can reflect on it.
Now you’ll want to give them some deeper guidance. It’s a good idea to start off the journal with some prompts to get them going. For young children, they can draw their answers and explain them to you, and you might want to leave some space for notes so that you can remember what they said later.
● What is the hardest part of soccer for you. Why?
● What is your favourite place to do soccer? Why?
● Think back to a time when you didn’t win. Describe your feelings.
● What does it mean to be a good opponent?
● What’s a great memory that you have of playing soccer?
These are just a few to get your child’s journal started. Try talking to their coach or just coming up with some ideas on your own. Whatever you end up with, your child is guaranteed to feel more connected and excited about the game, as well as having a healthier emotional connection with themselves, with the other players, and with the game itself!