Communicating With Sports Kids After Mistakes
A sports parent says:
“I feel I need assistance with what to say to kids after they have made a mistake…”
Learning to deal with mistakes is one of the most beneficial aspects of sports psychology, and will benefit your children throughout their lives.
The reasoning is simple:
Perfectionism and fear of failure limit kids’ ability to improve their performance.
On top of that, kids worry about how others will react to their mistakes. Fear of failure or making mistakes can undermine confidence for young athletes.
One small mistake can trip up their expectations and leave confidence reeling. Kids will start to question their decisions and worry about what others think of their mistakes, which will inevitably cause them to make more mistakes!
When they are thinking about the mistakes they could be making or the people who may be disappointed in them, they are not focusing on what matters–their performance in the game at hand.
Mistakes are also important for the pure fact that the more you make, the more athletes learn. Making mistakes is an integral part of the learning process, and your kids need the mental space to make mistakes.
The first thing you should do is talk to your sports kids about the value of making mistakes and that it’s a natural part of sports.
Then you want to identify the source of their fears.
Are they worried about disappointing you or their coaches?
Are they afraid of the consequences of performing badly or embarrassing themselves?
Identifying the fear will lead you to your second task, how to help address the fear.
Poke holes in your children’s fears; ask them to look at the big picture.
Does it really matter if you make one turnover? Throw the ball away one time?
Do you think your coach really expects you to play perfectly?
Here are a few ideas of what to tell kids after mistakes:
- You performed well 95% of the game–that’s fantastic!
- Flush the mistake: give them the flushing sign.
- You’re human, right? Mistakes are part of being human.
- We still love you no matter how many mistakes you’ve made!
- No one can be perfect and no one will remember your mistakes tomorrow.
For more strategies, check out our “Kick Perfectionism and Fear of Failure” program here:
Help Young Athletes Overcome Perfectionist Challenges in Sports!
Nearly every athlete struggles with some form of perfectionism or fear of failure.
Kids who look like stars in practice will often choke up or under perform during games or competition. Other athletes expect too much of themselves—then get frustrated when they don’t meet their high expectations. Or they’re extremely hard on themselves.
In all cases, this causes young athletes to play it safe. They refuse to take the important risks that help them excel and improve their confidence. Suddenly, they’re held back by fear, indecision, and hesitation.
Learn how to help young athletes overcome the difficult cycle of perfectionism, fear of failure and loss of confidence. You can stop guessing about what to do and say to your athlete!
Our program: “Sports Parents’ Top Dilemma: Helping Young Athletes Kick Perfectionism and Fear of Failure,” will walk you through the problem and arm you with practical solutions you can start implementing today.
You’ll start seeing changes in your young athlete’s confidence almost immediately.
Make your role as sports parent more enjoyable and easier! We tell you how to help your young athletes:
- Let go of mistakes more quickly
- Perform more freely
- Think more creatively
- Stop worrying about what others’ think
- Dramatically improve their performance and attitude in sports
- Stop criticizing themselves
- Accept feedback better
- Improve their confidence in sports
- They, too, will have more fun and reap more rewards.
“Sports Parents’ Top Dilemma: Helping Young Athletes Kick Perfectionism and Fear of Failure,” consists of two parts:
- A 21-page kids’ sports psychology workbook that is intended to help your kids identify beliefs and expectations that are the root of perfectionism. It will also help them develop strategies to play more freely with less fear in competition.
- A 23-page e-book that identifies the challenge, explains why it is harmful to young athletes (but also very common), and gives in-depth, step-by-step “sports psychology” tips for helping kids. Download this instantly!