Most kids tend to beat up on themselves after they compete. It’s part of human nature. It’s part of being a dedicated athlete. It’s something perfectionists do a lot.
But it’s not healthy. Dwelling on mistakes and losses hurts kids’ confidence in a big way. They think too hard and long about what went wrong in the game. They focus too much on what they could have or should have done better. We’re sure you’ve heard kids say: “I should have, could have, would have…”?
If you want your kids to boost their confidence after competition (or at least keep it), they need to embrace a different approach to assessing their performance.
You add insult to injury if you discuss or “question” your kids’ mistakes after games. This only prolongs their tendency to dwell on mistakes. It also undermines their confidence.
We suggest you focus on what kids did well in the game even after a loss. Pick two things your kids did well… even if only for one play. We’re sure you can find something encouraging to focus on.
Hold off on your “constructive criticism” until the next practice or day. Your input should focus on ways to improve their performance. For example, if your athletes lost control of the ball a couple times in the game, discuss how they can maintain better ball control next time.
Your athletes already know what they did wrong and can dwell too long on mistakes all on their own. One of your main goals should be to help them move on and let go of the past.
That’s a top tip. Do you want to learn all the rest of our confidence-boosting strategies for sports parents, coaches, and young athletes?
Check out “The Confident Sports Kid” CD and workbook program. And download the first chapter of the kids’ workbook while you are there:
Dr. Patrick Cohn and Lisa Cohn
p.s. We ship our new program to anywhere in the world including Canada and Europe. Just select the correct shipping option. Grab your copy today:
Patrick J. Cohn, Ph.D.
Master Mental Game Coach