Building Confidence in Young Athletes

Building Confidence in Young Athletes

Helping Sports Kids Overcome the Fear of Making Mistakes

A sports parent asks:

“My daughter is 13 years old and is currently playing basketball. She is very athletic and has natural abilities but just doesn’t know it or use it. Her confidence level is not there. She gets in a game and just panics. She starts making mistakes and gets pulled out, I feel like that is hurting her confidence as well. She’s so afraid to make a mistake. Her father and I get frustrated as well but aren’t sure what to say or how to help. What do you recommend?”

Parents, your sports children may have more natural ability then the kids around them, but the fact remains that no level of natural ability or smarts can make up for lack of confidence.

While your children’s physical preparedness may be the engine that runs their athletic performance, their confidence is their fuel. Without it, they have nothing to power their performance!

Carl Lewis, nine-time Olympic gold medal winner, said it succinctly, “If you don’t have the confidence, you’ll always find a way to not win.”

Often times, your sports children will react poorly to mistakes.

Mistakes will bring them down and they will lose confidence. Fear of failure can cripple your kids.

They will focus more on what they should not do wrong than what they should do right.

Your sports kids need to overcome the fear of making mistakes!

Take Michael Jordan as an example… Famous for making clutch, last second, game-winning shots, he said, “I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

To help your sports kids, identify unrealistic beliefs that are harming their confidence. In this particular example, there could be many things going through the child’s mind.

Do your kids think that they have to be the star?

Often when a child has athletic gifts that are praised by their parents, they build up the unrealistic belief that they should perform better than less athletic kids.

Let them know that you do not expect them to be the best; you simply expect them to try hard and have fun.

How you communicate with your sports kids has a huge impact on their confidence and performance.

Give them a few get-out-of-jail cards. Tell them that mistakes help them learn and grow.

For more tips on how to boost your sport children’s confidence, check out our program…

*Subscribe to The Sports Psychology Podcast on iTunes

Help Young Athletes Boost Confidence in Sports!

The Ultimate Sports Parent

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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