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The Benefits of a Mirror Test

By Minnesota Hockey, 11/03/14, 7:30AM CST

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Professional athletes, celebrities, politicians and members of the media deserve more credit. Most people recognize their talent and understand it took a lot of hard work to get where they are, but many also underestimate the amount of self-confidence and self-reflection it takes to be on television and radio.

Every action, every word and even their body language is not only broadcasted to the world but recorded.  If they make a mistake, everyone will know, and it may end up being replayed over and over on the news. That is a lot of pressure to live under. However, it also forces them to evaluate how they portray themselves on a daily basis.

Have you ever watched yourself on video after a performance?  It isn't much fun the first few times, but it does get easier. The visual feedback provides a world class lesson on how to correct your mistakes.

Seeing how much it helps athletes improve, it makes you wonder what type of impact video feedback could have on the environment at youth sporting events. How would parents, coaches and spectators react to their behavior being recorded on video and shown back to them? 

Would it change their behavior at future events?

Would we still hear screaming at officials after a poor call?

Would sayings like “Move Your Feet!”, “Shoot the Puck” or “Hit him!” be as common as they are now?

Would it eliminate the use of inappropriate language or other inappropriate behaviors?

While this type of crowd recording may never happen, it’s important to understand that every person at these events does have an audience. People on your team, the opposing team, local fans, and most importantly, your kid(s) are watching.  Even if they don’t address poor behavior, they do notice it.

How aware are you of what you say and do at your son or daughter’s games?  Put yourself to the test at their next event.  Try watching the entire game as if you are being recorded on camera or watching yourself in a mirror. Pay attention to the urges you have to do or say certain things. Does the thought of seeing those actions recorded impact whether you follow through on them?

If you see room for improvement, consider saying less during games and focus your comments on opportunities which have been shown through psychological research to have the most positive impact on kids:

Before the Competition:  

Have fun.

Play hard.

I love you.

After the competition:

Did you have fun?

I’m proud of you.

I love you.

When college athletes were asked what comments from their parents brought them the most joy, they said, “I love to watch you play.”

Remember, the ultimate goal is to provide the kids with a positive experience so everything you do should be oriented towards that. The mirror test is just one way to help you and your child achieve that goal.

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