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Control What You Can Control

Your thoughts. Your response. Your attitude.

When it comes to what is in your control, that’s pretty much it. Coaches, teachers, parents – all of us have had conversations with the young people in our lives about this topic and we have all spent time trying to get kids to understand this vital concept. After all, people who have a firm grasp on this are better able to deal with setbacks/failure, to pursue their goals, and have healthy relationships. The problem is this is a concept we can fully understand as adults, but it’s more abstract and harder to grasp for kids – until now.

Think back on times when you have tried to relay this information:

Coaches: ‘We can’t control the elements, or the officiating, or what the other team does – only what we do on the field!’

Parents: ‘You can’t control how your friend treated you, only how you decide to deal with it’

Insert adolescent eye roll here (probably). Over time, this concept can sink in, little by little, with typically a lot of angst in the meantime.But – we have a tremendous opportunity RIGHT NOW to drive this concept home with our young people! It’s in their face: no school, no sports, no time with friends, no freedom, no fun trips or gatherings with the family – and no clear end. There is absolutely no time like the present for kids to understand the importance of focusing on what truly is in their control:


Let’s take full advantage of this learning opportunity and accelerate the ability for our youth to become more resilient, aware of their own thoughts/self-talk, effort focused, and well – just happier!

Activity:During this time a great way to help kids learn this concept is with a simple exercise (and yes, you can try it too!) Grab a piece of paper and draw a big circle on it. Inside the circle have them write down things that they can control. On the outside, things that they can’t control. When they’re done, talk through it with them – and have them dig deeper into what they can do to make the most out of what is inside the circle. In the future they can do this when they are struggling with a particular situation (not getting the playing time they want, having a problem with a friend, doing poorly on a test), and start to focus on behaviors that will help them be more resilient when they face setbacks.

Let’s empower kids to live with more Confidence, Courage, and Resilience!

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