By Lisa Cohn and Dr. Patrick Cohn
Mike, a sports dad to an 11-year-old who plays high-level baseball, is worried about his sonâ€™s confidence. Jimâ€™s baseball coach often singles Jim out for making mistakes. As a result, the kids on the team also comment when Jim makes mistakes.
Mike says Jim doesnâ€™t mind so much when the coach singles him out. But Jim is not so happy when the other kids pick up on this negativity and start offering their two cents about his mistakes.
This situation can be a confidence buster for young athletes if their parents donâ€™t handle it well. Young athletes often worry about what their peers think of them. If they worry too much, it can undermine their confidence and performance. Theyâ€™ll often start playing tentatively. Theyâ€™ll be afraid to take risks. Theyâ€™ll be afraid of making more mistakes.
Mike took a smart approach: He reminded Jim that he generally contributes a lot to the team, and the coach and kids likely expect a lot from him.
He suggested that Jim find ways to turn this negative into a positive: Mike told Jim to take the feedback and use it as motivation to work harder.
When sports parents struggle with this issue, they should also consider having a frank conversation with the coach. If you do this, be sure to wait until after a game. Or make an appointment to see the coach. Donâ€™t approach the coach at half-time during a game if you are upset.
Wait to cool off before you sit down with the coach. Be sure to be as positive as possible. You might say, â€œI really appreciate all that youâ€™re doing for the kids on these teams. I have one issue Iâ€™d like to discuss with you. I think it hurts my sonâ€™s confidence when you single him out for criticism.â€
In addition, itâ€™s important for sports parents to stress that confidence comes from within. Itâ€™s based on what they can controlâ€”how hard they work in practice, their motivation and their past successes. It shouldnâ€™t be based on what they canâ€™t controlâ€”the weather, the size of the ball theyâ€™re playing withopponents the team is playing against, or what others might be saying about them. Young athletes need to focus on what they do well and try to push out of their minds worries about what others think of them.Whatâ€™s more, you can remind your young athletes that itâ€™s natural to make mistakes in sports. No one is perfect. In fact, athletes learn from mistakes.
*How to talk to a coach
*When to find a new coach
*How to motivate kids to do their best
*How to prepare kids for game day
*How to help kids stop worrying about what everyone thinks
*And much more!
Award winning parenting writer Lisa Cohn and Youth Sports Psychology expert Dr. Patrick Cohn are co-founders of The Ultimate Sports Parent. Pick up their free e-book, â€œTen Tips to Improve Confidence and Success in Young Athletesâ€ by visiting http://www.youthsportspsychology.com.
We welcome your comments.Â Please click on “no responsesÂ yet” orÂ “responsesÂ so far”Â below to post your comment>>