My 11-year-old daughter plays on a travel soccer team. During youth sports practices and fun games she is really good and puts in 110%. But when she’s in a formal game, she seems to just freeze up. She plays like she doesn’t know what she is doing. Her confidence in youth sports has come down so much in the past year. Do you have any youth sports psychology suggestions for helping her gain confidence in sports when she is playing a game?
The Ultimate Sports Parent:
You might have to start by removing the barriers to confidence. Based on your short email, it sounds as if she is afraid to fail or afraid to embarrass herself in real games. This is very typical youth sports psychology issue with young athletes.
She may be performing tentatively because she does not want to risk and make mistakes. This has likely undermined her confidence in youth sports. Or, it could be that she is just not confident when playing in a game (or has a lot of doubts).
Help her focus on what she has done well to support her confidence in games. She needs a strong base of confidence in sports. It should be based on practice and experience.
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