I want to say what I have to say really quickly. So, let’s both start off on the same foot. First let me give you a perspective of adolescence that, if you’ve been around youth or are one, you already have experienced.

Psychologically, the age range of adolescence is between 13-18. Parents definitely know that these moments are  highlighted generally by a lack of impulse control (emotional reactivity) and risky behavior. But what some may not know is the reason this behavior happens more often than not.

Enter illustration.

The Adolescent Brain. (Casey et al., 2008)

Let’s break down that illustration real quick. Nerd out for a bit. In an overly simplistic way.

  1. The Red line (Limbic regions) represents the emotional portion of your brain
  2. The Grayish Line (Prefrontal regions) represents the decision-making portion of your brain

What it’s saying is during adolescence, youth will act most from their emotions rather than their rationale. This is not to say that youth don’t have rationale, because it’s possible, in sterile environments like a classroom or discussion group, for an adolescent to show high levels of intellectual capacity, but if facing a stressful situation they will most likely behave impulsively.

This is why we hear many young people saying “I didn’t mean to do that.” They know better and they can rationalize right from wrong but in emotional situations, their default is to impulsively follow their emotional state. So, does that mean that we have to accept this excuse until their brain’s development balances out?

NO.

Not all adolescents are impulsive and not all adults whose brains are developed are appropriately-behaved. What’s the difference?

I think the difference is psychological skills. Our behaviors aren’t created solely from how far along our brain’s development is or not, but also from our mind. If we introduce young people or young adults to psychological development tools, techniques and perspectives that increase self-awareness and personal mental development they will be able to (amongst other things):

  • override impulsive responses
  • process their emotions
  • shift and hold attention on relevant things in the moment

Professional sports has been and will continue to be a great influence on the behavior of the majority of youth sport culture. It’s popular. It has the power to shape and initiate societal fashion, slang, behavior or discussions at any moment. Sports have now been actively speaking about mental health awareness in the shadow of unfortunate suicides seen on the collegiate level. Sometimes an overwhelmed mind is a result of chemical imbalances in the brain and sometimes it is lack of psychological coping skills BUT always it’s tragic and horrible to deal with if it’s you.

Journey Of Champions is here to help the conversation push forward with the introduction of The Core FOUR model.

This model can help youth increase their self-awareness and act as the blueprint for the mental development of needed coping skills.

“How have you gotten your mind (or your kids mind) ready to journey through the world of sports?”

© 2017, Journey Of Champions LLC, all rights reserved

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