Helping Young Athletes Rebuild Confidence
One parent asks:
“My child was recently demoted out of the starting lineup on his basketball team and has been having troubles playing ever since. What can I do to help him get back in the starting lineup?”
Demotions of any kind can undermine kids’ confidence.
Coaches may demote young athletes because a new player joined the team, an existing player became a stronger player, or your kids are not performing as well as usual.
If your sports kids’ demotions result from their own difficulty performing, it’s likely that they’re struggling with mental game and confidence problems already. Adding a demotion to this can make it difficult for sports kids to rebuild their confidence.
If your sports kids are perfectionists, being demoted can cause a lot of frustration. Perfectionists expect too much of themselves, and when they fail to meet their lofty expectations, they become frustrated and their confidence suffers.
If your kids are demoted because a new athlete joined the team, the pressure of this new competition can also undermine their confidence. They’ll feel pressure to work harder and harder, and will compare themselves to the new player, rather than focusing on their own strengths.
To help build your sports kids’ confidence in this instance, help them set small goals or objectives. Help them focus on the process—not on the score or win. Help them establish achievable mini-goals such as blocking three shots or making two good shots at goal.
Focus on other ways your children can help their team–even if they are not a starter, rather than be frustrated with lack of playing time.
This is a great life lesson for kids, but gets overlooked by parents and athletes.
Encourage them to focus on their own strengths, rather than the strengths of others and how they can get back to a starting role or better position.
If they concentrate on the process, what they bring to the team, and small mini-goals, they can re-build their confidence.
One of the best ways to help kids build confidence is to help them prepare for games. You can do this with our 10-Minute Pregame Prep program. Learn more here.
Young athletes, their parents and coaches tell us that sports kids often struggle with these pregame mental game challenges:
- They feel pressure to excel from expectations they feel from others.
- They worry too much about what others think about their performance.
- They interpret pregame jitters as harmful to their performance.
- They fail to take charge of their confidence before the compete.
- They hang on to mistakes and dwell in them in competition.
- They don’t trust in their skills when they go from practice to competition.
- They focus too much on the outcome instead of the process.
- They tighten up and play safe when they feel pressure to succeed.
“10 Minute Pregame Prep” will tell you everything you need to know about ensuring your sports kids avoid classic mental game pitfalls before a game, learn how to trust their instincts, and just go for it. It provides lots of advice for you, too…
Parents ask us:
“I am more nervous than my son before games. How do I as a parent stay calm and not show I am nervous before games?”
“My challenge is not to talk too much about the upcoming games or what they need to do. I want to psych him up and encourage him but don’t want him to feel that he has to perform perfectly.”
“How do I support my athlete without putting more pressure on him?”