But athletes lose when they make mistakes, you might argue.
Not so. Athletes—especially young athletes—who aren’t afraid of making mistakes are equipped with critical mental game skills. They know how to “just go for it,” trust their instincts, and how to move on after they make mistakes.
In fact, they understand how they can grow and learn from their mistakes.
However, many sports kids lack these important mental game skills. They tend to fear making mistakes—in part because they’re worried Coach might bench them, or that people will judge them.
These kids play it safe, focusing on avoiding goofing up. They are often stiff.
As sports parents and coaches, there’s lots you can do to help kids move on after making mistakes…
One important tip, from the Positive Coaching Alliance, is to give them a “flushing” sign after they make a mistake. The idea is to tell them to “just flush it” and move on.
What’s more, you can avoid focusing on your sports kids’ mistakes.
Too often, parents dwell on kids’ goof-ups–especially just after a game, during the car ride home–in their attempt to help kids improve.
Instead, you should talk about what they did well. You want to give them the confidence to “just go for it.”
You also need to let your young athletes know that it’s human to make mistakes and that goofing up, if viewed correctly, can be an important learning experience. You can discuss with them possible ways theymight try something different next time.
Want to learn more about how to help your young athletes flush away their mistakes and learn from them?
If you’re a Kids’ Sports Psychology member, you can read a new article, “Tips for Helping Kids Deal with Disappointment After Making Mistakes or Losing.”
Read or download it here:
What’s more, exclusive members can listen to a great interview with Bruce Kracke, a youth sports coach and certified trainer for the Positive Coaching Alliance about how to deal with mistakes.
If you have not done so yet, download “Sports Parents’ Top Dilemma: Helping Young Athletes Kick Perfectionism and Fear of Failure” for free.
What are people saying about our resources? This note just came in today about our youth sports bonus e-book:
“I thoroughly enjoyed the bonus MP3. You hit on many situations that I am encountering with my 11-year-old son. I like that you are gearing this toward how we as parents can help our children.”
~Susan, a sports mom
Lisa Cohn and Patrick Cohn, Ph.D.
P.S. Exclusive members of Kids’ Sports Psychology will get some great tips by reading our latest article on this topic here:
Get Our Sports Psychology Tips – Kids’ Sports Psychology