Do Sports Help Self-Esteem?
A sports parent writes:
“My 12-year-old has always had low-self confidence and low self-esteem. My hope was that a competitive sport (baseball for us) could help him develop these but so far results (four years into the mission) are negative to neutral at best. How do you evaluate if competitive sports are just not going to work, neutral, or all systems go for helping kids develop confidence and self-esteem?”
Often, sports parents and kids confuse self-confidence and self-esteem in youth sports. There’s a difference between the two…
Confidence is all about how much kids believe in their ability to execute a task or skill—it’s about kids’ performance in sports.
Self-esteem, on the other hand, is more about the whole person. It’s based on kids’ self-concept—how they view themselves as people, not as athletes.
Kids’ self-esteem is about how they define themselves (outside of sport) and relate to other people.
It’s possible that confidence and self-esteem can be independent of one another. In other words, kids can be confident in sports, but possess low self-esteem.
Here’s the problem with self-esteem in youth sports.
If kids’ self-esteem is based on their success or failure in youth sports, they can feel more pressure when competing.
When athletes’ self-esteem is based only on sports achievement, they feel upset when they don’t succeed and it hurts their self-esteem.
There are other problems that go along with linking self-esteem with achievement in sports. For example, when kids who feel this way are injured and can’t play for months, their self-esteem suffers—and it shouldn’t!
It’s not a good idea for kids to link their self-esteem with their achievement in sports.
It’s possible that young athletes who do this are seeking approval from others via youth sports.
Parents should help athletes understand that sports is something they do, not who they are!
Back to the parent’s question…
This parent wanted to know if sports will develop a kid’s self-esteem and self-confidence.
Yes, participating in youth sports may boost self-confidence in sports. But you don’t want your kids to participate in sports in the hopes that excelling in athletics will improve their self-esteem.
Self-esteems has to come from your athletes’ understanding of their self-concept (who they are) and a positive appraisal of their self-concept.
What do parents and coaches say about our resources?
“I’ve read a number of Kids’ Sports Psychology articles and watched several videos mostly about building confidence. As sports parents, we’ve changed our behavior. We’ve stopped criticizing her performance and have focused on what she did well. We do see an improvement in her practices, but most of all they are more enjoyable for her and us.”
Help your young athletes learn how to boost their confidence in youth sports and enjoy sports more! Check out The Confident Sports Kid:
Help Your Young Athletes Overcome Self-Doubt In Sports!
The Confident Sports Kid helps young athletes improve confidence quickly and overcome common confidence killers that destroy motivation and fun in sports!
This is a 7-day program for sports parents and kids to boost young athletes’ performance, happiness and success… in sports and life!
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 12 how to improve their self talk, avoid negative thinking, overcome expectations that limit confidence, and much more.
What are parents and coaches saying?
“I think the material on your web site and the communications I receive are excellent. I find the advice practical and the topics that are discussed, very relevant to my own experiences. I feel very happy with my purchase of the Ultimate Sports Parent Program. Your materials are top class. I will continue to study them.”
~David Wormald, Sports Parent
“I appreciate the advice to parents as to how to help your child become more mentally resilient to bullying in sports. The specific advice and scenarios are extremely helpful for any child on a team and very helpful in guiding parents, coaches and administrators in how to deal with bullying in sports. I cannot thank you enough for your input, and I am so reassured to know that there are people like you who are writing articles and doing interviews on such timely and important matters.”
Help Young Athletes Overcome Perfectionist Challenges in Sports!
Sports Parents’ Top Dilemma: Helping Young Athletes Kick Perfectionism And Fear of Failure will walk you through the problem and arm you with practical solutions.
The Sports Parents’ Top Dilemma is a two part program. It includes:
- A 23 page E-book that identifies the challenge, explains why it is harmful to young athletes and gives step-by-stop sports psychology tips for helping kids.
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Now you can learn how to help young athletes overcome the difficult cycle of perfectionism, fear of failure and loss of confidence!
What are parents saying?
“My wife and I immediately applied your tips and luckily we got a fast response. Our 16-year-old daughter reads like a case study for lack of confidence. She matches the profile your e-book describes: high technical ability and successful in soccer practice but looks like she forgets how to play in games!”
~Glenn G. New Jersey
“I use your tips to help a sophomore high school student athlete. Last night, after I gave him some of your email tips – relax, get in the flow of the game, have fun, play by instinct, etc. – He busted loose for a career high 20 points and 15 rebounds!”