Boosting Sports Kids’ Confidence
What’s one of the most important things adults can do to boost young athletes’ confidence?
They should help build a positive team culture, says Danny Cullinane, a coach and sports parent in England who lectures about sports development.
He should know. He’s charged with the job of helping ensure more kids play sports and reap the many benefits.
Creating an effective team culture means coaches should focus on team-building, good communication with parents and players, and setting a positive tone for the team, he says.
It also means parents should support the coach, attend team meetings and be sure to cheer on the whole team-not just their own. It also means cheering on the opponents when they make great plays.
Without a positive team culture, kids often feel less confident. They’re more susceptible to bullying, are more confused about what they’re supposed to do, and often don’t get enough positive feedback from the adults around them.
In rugby, being clear about the team culture is critical, he says.
“There are occasions during the came when there are collisions and contact. You have to do it with discipline. You can’t tackle high, for example. Teams have to engage with each other. If you don’t do it right, people can get hurt.”
The teams generally agree to the rules, and the coach has to set the tone, he says.
“Good coaches establish strong discipline early on. Bad coaches promote aggression rather than discipline.” In England, the bad coaches are less popular and have fewer games available to them because other teams don’t want to play them.
“We also try to teach kids to be good team players, not just to focus on what they’re good at,” he says. “We try to tell kids to try different things and reflect on their experience because they may have to change positions.”
Kids are also evaluated based on how well they do the job they’re asked to do-not solely on how successful they are, he notes.
If you’d like to learn more about how to build kids’ confidence with a positive culture, visit Kids’ Sports Psychology. Exclusive members have access to our interview with Cullinane-plus loads of e-books, audio interviews, videos, articles and more!
To listen to the first half of this interview, use the player below:
Exclusive members can listen to our interview here:
Here’s what people are saying about our resources:
“First of all, can I say how much I enjoy your tips. The clarity with which you explain the ideas behind them has been really helpful for me to pass on to others, whether students at my university or parents and coaches at my children’s sports clubs.”
~Sports dad and coach
Help your young athletes make the most of their sports experience!
P.S. If you’re an exclusive member of Kids’ Sports Psychology, be sure to listen to our interview with Cullianane, with lots of information about building team culture:
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