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Lessons Learned from Freeze Tag


As a sport psychologist, I am always looking for inspiration for athletes. Recently, as my two boys enthusiastically burst through the door after school, they animatedly shared stories of their adventures playing freeze tag during recess. Little did I know, their stories would spark a connection between the lively game of freeze tag and the intricate world of sports psychology. In this blog, I'll delve into what we can learn from the game of freeze tag and how it relates to the mental side of sports.


Strategy and Adaptability

In freeze tag, success isn't solely determined by speed or agility. Instead, it's those who employ strategy and adaptability that often emerge victorious. Similarly, in sports, athletes must continually assess and adjust their game plan to navigate the ever-changing dynamics of competition.

In the context of freeze tag, I observed my kids strategizing about which players to target first or when to use their "unfreezing" powers strategically. These decisions mirrored the split-second choices athletes make during a game, emphasizing the importance of mental agility in sports.


Mindfulness and Focus

While playing freeze tag, children must remain hyper-aware of their surroundings, staying mindful of potential threats while focusing on their goal – avoiding being tagged and frozen. In sports, athletes must cultivate a similar level of mindfulness and focus to perform at their best.

In my kids' freeze tag tales, I noticed how they described their heightened awareness of the playground, constantly scanning for opponents and planning their next move. This mindfulness, I realized, was a transferable skill that athletes can harness to sharpen their focus on the field or court.


Resilience and Mental Toughness

In both freeze tag and sports, setbacks and moments of being "frozen" inevitably occur. It's how individuals respond to these challenges that often determine their ultimate success. Just as my kids quickly adapted and strategized to unfreeze their friends, athletes must develop resilience and mental toughness to overcome adversity. Athletes can build psychological resilience, learning coping strategies and positive self-talk to navigate setbacks and bounce back stronger than ever.

Reflecting on my kids' stories, I appreciated their resilience when facing temporary setbacks – a reminder of the mental fortitude that athletes must cultivate to navigate the highs and lows of competition.


Teamwork and Communication

While freeze tag is typically played individually, there are instances where teamwork and communication come into play – whether it's strategizing with allies to unfreeze teammates or signaling warnings. Similarly, in team sports, effective communication and teamwork are essential for success.

My kids recounted moments when effective communication helped them coordinate strategies to outsmart their opponents in freeze tag. This highlighted the importance of teamwork, a principle deeply ingrained in sports, where athletes must communicate seamlessly to achieve collective goals.


The Power of Play

Finally, perhaps the most important lesson we can learn from freeze tag is the power of play itself. Just as my kids engage in freeze tag for the sheer joy of movement and social interaction, athletes must maintain a sense of playfulness and passion for their sport.

As I listened to my kids recount their freeze tag adventures, I couldn't help but reflect on the lessons hidden within the simplicity of play. I realized that fostering a love for the game, just like the joy my kids experienced during freeze tag, is crucial for athletes to sustain their enthusiasm and dedication over the long term.


Freeze tag offers valuable insights into the mental side of sports. Whether strategizing in freeze tag or executing game plans in sports, the mental skills honed in childhood play are transferable and form the building blocks of a successful athletic mindset. So, whether you're freezing in place during a game of tag or chasing your athletic dreams, remember the impact of play and the valuable lessons learned – and consider partnering with a sport psychologist to enhance your journey. If you are interested in furthering your athletic or freeze tag potential, please schedule a free introductory call with me at Excel Sport Psychology.

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