Sports parent Michael Sands is unhappy with what he calls favoritism at Beverly Hills High, where his son plays football.
The coaches are all volunteers, but on weekends, they coach certain kids—for a fee. This puts the young athletes who get extra coaching on weekends on a different playing field than those who don’t get the extra coaching, he says. They’re more likely to be favored by the coaches.
This type of scenario is common in youth sports. Sometimes, certain young athletes are invited to take part in summer sports camps, and they are more likely to get picked to play on their school teams. Of course, this is very hard on the kids who aren’t invited. It hurts their confidence.
But that’s not the only scenario that can hurt kids’ confidence. Certain young athletes are favored by their coaches even if there is no outside coaching. The coaches may like these kids’ attitude, or physical prowess, or may be influenced by what other adults say about these kids.
If you feel your athlete’s confidence is suffering because of these kinds of favoritism, there are a number of things you can do.
First of all, you can talk to the coach. But you have to be very careful about how you approach him or her.
Find a time when the coach is free and not distracted. Avoid talking to a coach right after a game. Be polite.
Don’t accuse the coach of favoritism or put the coach on the defensive. You might simply ask what you can do to ensure your child improves enough to get more playing time, or to make the team.
It’s also really important for your young athletes to learn how to cope with the reality of favoritism. Your athletes need to learn how to stop making comparisons with other kids—even if the coach favors these other kids.
Instead of focusing on the child favored by the coach, your athletes need to focus on themselves. They should identify their strengths, and concentrate on them.
What’s more, your athletes should not assume people are judging them, analyzing them, or talking about them.
You athletes should concentrate on themselves and improving their skills. In addition, kids should not try to play or perform like the favored athletes. They need to be themselves and take advantage of their strengths.
Want to learn more about how to improve your parenting skills and ensure your kids get the most of their talent?
At Kids’ Sports Psychology, we have loads of resources for you, including the following e-books. If you’re already an exclusive Kids’ Sports Psychology member, you can access them for free: They include:
- Appreciate Your Talents: How to Avoid Making Comparisons and Intimidating Yourself (for sports kids
- Growing From Adversity: How to Stay Confident after Failure (for sports kids)
- Building Self-Confidence in Sports—for Kids 10 and Under
- 7 Strategies to Help Sports Kids Stay Composed after Making Mistakes
But that’s not all. At Kids’ Sports Psychology, you can download more than 17 e-books—some written for parents and some specifically for sports kids.
You can also access audio and video programs that improve your sports parenting skills and boost kids’ confidence. Help your sports kids reap all the physical, emotional and social benefits of taking part in sports:
Patrick Cohn, Ph.D. and Lisa Cohn
P.S. If you’re already a Kids’ Sports Psychology member, you can visit this page to download our “Appreciate Your Talents” e-book:
“Appreciate Your Talents” e-book