Boosting Athletes’ Confidence with Life Skills Lessons

Mental Imagery for Young Athletes

Life Skills Lessons for Athletes

Kids are coming to Skyhawks Sports Academy camps with confidence challenges, says Sarah Kelley-Reid, a sports parent and the East Coast regional manager at Skyhawks Sports Academy, which provides skill-based sports experiences for kids 4-14.

For some, social media is dragging down their confidence. Some kids get bullied or teased on social media and this hurts their confidence in sports as well as other areas of their lives, she told us during an Ultimate Sports Parent podcast interview.

“I do feel with social media everyone is put on this massive mirror to look at themselves and pick themselves apart and people are much meaner to each other than they would be in person,” says Kelly-Reid.

And kids’ immersion in texting and social media makes it harder for them to communicate in person with coaches and teammates, she says.

In addition, some kids are having a hard time being good teammates, she says. .

To help build kids’ confidence in sports and other areas of their lives, Skyhawk Sports teaches life skills and uses coaches certified by the Positive Coaching Alliance, which has established numerous strategies for communicating in positive ways with sports kids.

Each day, Skyhawks focuses on different life skills…

“We model it, teach it, praise it,” she says.

Skyhawks Sports focuses first and foremost on respect. That’s due in part to the fact that the young athletes don’t always listen to their coaches.

“We talk about it on Monday to set the stage. We need to respect ourselves and avoid negative self-talk,” says Kelley-Reid.

Skyhawks also focuses on ensuring the kids respect each other, their coaches and the facilities where they play.

That sets the stage for the rest of the week.  And all other life skills revolve around respect, she says.

The program recently added inclusion as an important life skill. This helps build kids’ confidence because it ensures no one feels left out. And it also helps develop teamwork.

“We want everyone to feel included. We’re not singling anyone out who looks different or talks differently or is differently abled,” says Kelley-Reid.

Meanwhile, the program uses Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA)  strategies to ensure coaches are communicating in positive ways with kids. In fact, all of the coaches in the program are certified as PCA coaches.

Those strategies include always giving five true compliments along with suggestions for improvement.

“PCA is all about keeping youth sports fun and positive and making sure you are given five praises for every one criticism. It’s about giving high fives and saying awesome job and smiling,” she says.

Listen to the entire podcast:

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The Confident Sports Kid

Help Athletes Improve Confidence

When kids lack confidence, they doubt themselves, stop taking risks, play tentatively, and are hard on themselves. As a result, kids often lose their motivation to improve. Ultimately, these barriers keep them from enjoying sports and making the most of their physical talent.

The Confident Sports Kid” program is actually two programs: one that teaches sports parents how to boost their kids’ confidence, and another that teaches young athletes age 8 to 18 how to improve their self talk, avoid negative thinking, overcome expectations that limit confidence, and much more. The program will help kids boost their confidence in sports and life…and enjoy sports more.

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