The following post is an excerpt from Raising Athletic Royalty NOW available through most online retailers!
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LESSON: The Fully Developed Human Brain
“It’s not my fault mom! My brains not fully developed…Google it…” is the go-to excuse applied by most of my students. In our seminars, we touch upon the common research regarding the limitations of a teenager’s brain. Parents, coaches, and athletes get a kick out of the neurological findings in regards to a teen’s inability to handle their emotions, planning, managing risks, and their inability to stay on task for hours through their teenage years.
Studies indicate that the human brain undergoes tremendous ‘pruning of the neurons and myelination’ (which translates to growth) through their late adolescence. While the scientific community banters over specifics, they agree that the human brain (both male and female) reaches full maturity in the early twenties.
The Institute for Highway Safety reports that teens are four times more likely to be involved in an auto accident and that’s due to their underdeveloped brains. The National Institute of Health suggests that the section of the brain that restrains risky behavior is not fully developed until the age of twenty-five. The bottom line with these interesting findings is that adolescent athletes are competing before the decision-making center of their brains are fully developed.
The moral of the story is: Cut your athletes some slack. Don’t expect your teenager to perform perfectly because they have a pretty darn good excuse. Instead, encourage excellence and don’t demand perfection. Most full-grown adults I know don’t focus fully (100%) on their job while at work. They don’t put themselves on the line in national competition. They also don’t put their mind and bodies through such a rigorous growth process. Take a typical weekly schedule of a top junior athlete and my bet is that 95% of the parents couldn’t make it through the first week.
I suggest you put this book down for a moment and go give your child a hug. You are a very lucky parent!
“NEVER ASK FOR PERFECTION, PERFECTION IS AN ILLUSION.”
“Focus on the progress your child has made versus always complaining
about how far they have to go.”