Athletes Who Make Comparisons And How Parents Contribute

Youth Sports Psychology

Sports Kids And Parents Who Make Comparisons

When sports kids compare themselves to others, it’s a big mental game no-no.

When sports parents compare their kids to their peers, it’s an even bigger mental game no-no.

But guess what? It’s really hard to resist.

Lisa here to make a confession:

When your child has a big tryout or audition, you can spend all week talking about who is auditioning or trying out, who made the final cut last year, why they may have been chosen, and how my daughter differs from these other kids.

I need to stop—and so do you if you also fall into this bad habit. Yes, it’s really fun to sit in the car with your athletes and talk about the other kids’ talents, but it’s not necessarily helping improve your sports kids’ confidence.

Ideally, especially before a big event, young athletes need to ignore all the chatter that’s going on around them about who their competitors are, how good they are, and what their accomplishments are.

When we surveyed parents about this topic, nearly 23% said that their kids judge how their teammates are performing, rather than focusing on their own talents.

Kids tend to make comparisons under specific conditions—when they have friends who are gifted, when kids of the same ability perform better than them, and when they’re jealous of other teammates.

Sports parent Julie Dreyer explains very well why it’s not a good idea to make these comparisons.

“When they focus on a competitor, they forget what they’re personally bringing to the event,” she says.

This causes kids to lose confidence.

Both parents and sports kids need to be aware of the pitfalls of making comparisons.

They need to be aware of when they make comparisons. They then need to change what they focus on. Athletes shouldn’t look at their opponents when they’re warming up.

Parents, help your young athletes focus on their strengths.

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Every day, we receive letters from parents like you who want their children and teens to excel in sports. However, these parents can see fear, doubt, and frustration on the faces of their kids who struggle with the “inner” game of sports. But these parents have no idea how to help their kids overcome the worries, expectations and self-defeating thoughts that prevent their young athletes from feeling confident and successful.

You can benefit from our 15-plus years’ of work in sports psychology and sports parenting research. Now, you can tap into our secrets to sports success through a cutting-edge, 14-day program that helps young athletes overcome the top “mental game” challenges that sports parents face—and the top challenges young athletes face.

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