November 29, 2015

When Kids’ Self-Esteem Suffers After They Lose

Colton, a motocross racer, has lots of confidence. But he hates to lose. He hates to lose so much that it takes up to a day to recover after a losing, he says.

Here at the Ultimate Sports Parent and Kids’ Sports Psychology, we think it’s okay to be competitive, like Colton. It motivates kids to work hard in practice and game situations.

But when they’re so focused on winning that it takes them up to a day to recover from a loss, they likely link their self-worth to winning. That’s not the best scenario. When Colton loses, his self-esteem suffers.

Kids should not link their self-esteem with winning. These types of kids are often devastated when they suffer injuries and need to take a break from sports. Take away sports, they struggle with their role identity — it’s hard for them to know who they are!

Kids’ self-esteem should be based on who they are as people—not as players.

How do you as sports parents help kids who link their self-esteem with winning in sports?

Begin by helping kids define their “self-concept.” This is a way of helping kids learn who they are outside of sports. Ask your kids to identify traits that describe them outside of sports.

Ask two or three other people close to your kids to also identify some traits. Use this information to help your kids develop a strong sense of self-concept that is based on their personal traits—not on achievement in sports.

Ask your kids to think about self-worth based on what they identified above. And most important, be clear that no matter how well or poorly your sports kids perform, they are still they same people and you love them unconditionally! You should also try to avoid focusing too much on winning, or the score.

Want to learn more about how to helps your athletes improve confidence and self-esteem so they can make the most of their physical talent?

If you’ve got a child who hates to fail or lose, you might want to check out an e-book that addresses this topic:

“Help Kids Kick Fear of Failure and Perfectionism”

If you’re already an exclusive Kids’ Sports Psychology member, you get the e-book for free, along with other e-books that address these topics and others:

  • Teaching Young Athletes to Get In the Flow of Sports
  • 10 Ways of Thinking That Hurt Kids’ Confidence
  • Using “Get-Ready” Routines To Improve Performance

But that’s just the beginning. At Kids’ Sports Psychology, you can download over 17 e-books. You can read e-book written for parents or your kids can read some for sports kids.

You can also access audio and video programs and articles that help you and your young athletes boost their confidence and have more fun.

In addition to our audio and video programs, members can enjoy our new video series “Inside the Mind of Young Athletes” and Dr. Cohn’s analysis of each athlete:

Kids Sports Psychology


Patrick Cohn Ph.D. and Lisa Cohn

P.S. Colton also has a number of great qualities that have led him to national success. If you’d like to view our “Inside the Minds of Young Athletes” video interview with him—and our analysis—click here:

“Inside the Minds” Video Interview with Colton


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