How Athletes Can Deal with Coach Criticism
It can be hard for your young athletes to take criticism productively from coaches. Kids often don’t interpret communication from coaches correctly because of the delivery or the emotion with which the feedback is conveyed.
When their coaches criticize young athletes, the kids may focus on only the negative part of the message, or miss the message entirely.
This is especially true if the criticism is done in an excessively loud manner. Kids can interpret loudness as overly negative.
It may look like this: A coach yells at young soccer players, “What are you doing? You’re moving up too far!”
Your sports kids might hear “You can’t seem to do anything right!” Later, if your young athletes gets pulled from the game and the coach says, “You’re not making any of the right passes,” your sports kids might be hearing “You are not good enough for this team.”
Some good coaches are not good communicators, and many are not even positive coaches.
These coaches may think they are trying to motivate kids, but don’t understand how to communicate well enough to effectively be motivational. Instead, your young athletes will often take harsh criticism and demeaning language personally.
While young athletes can’t control the message or how the message was presented, they can sort through language and tone and capture something of value that they can use to improve their game.
To do this, they must interpret the message objectively, ignore the negativity or harshness of the tone and look for the learning message–a message that will help them improve.
For example, their coach may yell out, “How is it possible to make the same dumb mistake of not clearing the ball?”
Encourage your sports kids to avoid internalizing the word “dumb.” They should not take this feedback personally–as a hit on their person. You want them to see it for what it is–feedback about one play in the game.
Instead, they should ask themselves an objective question and answer with an objective answer.
“Am I dumb? No, I am a solid defender but I can always improve. I should always remember to immediately clear the ball when given the opportunity.”
The goal of this exercise is for your athletes to avoid taking the criticism personally and to get some value from it that they can apply in practice and thus improve.
Help Your Young Athletes Cope with Bullies!
Are your young athletes getting bullied by people teammates, coaches or even other parents?
Kids are quitting sports because of the harassment and intimidation from bullies and coaches! When kids no longer enjoy sports, they drop out.
Helping Young Athletes Cope with Bullies helps kids stay confident and mentally tough in the face of bullies.
Helping Young Athletes Cope with Bullies program is actually two programs: one for sports parents/coaches that provides mental game tips especially designed for parents and coaches, and for young athletes, ages 8 to 12, that will walk them through simple lessons in staying confident sports.
What are parents and coaches saying?
“I read your report and prepared a one-page summary for my team. I asked the team to attend a 10am training session on Saturday before the final on Sunday. (I told parents) they must obtain the one-page summary handout from me and ask a parent to read it to them until they understood what it meant…My boys succeeded! We beat a team that no one could beat during the year, that was coached by a former professional player that had sons of former Professional players in the team and as a result of believing in themselves, they won. In my humble opinion , I look beyond the game and hope the kids have learned a lesson in life that you really can do almost anything if you put your mind to it. We salute you and the wonderful work you do.”
~Anthony (Tony) Costa, coach
“The resources that you have available on your website have been wonderful. I am slowly learning [and hopefully] in time that a sound mental game may be more important then the actual physical part of the sport that your child plays. Yes you have to have the talent but the mental game is what sets apart as a very good athlete compared to an elite athlete. As a parent, you need to find the time to teach yourself and help your child understand the Psychology of sport. All the hard work on the ice/field could eventually pay off and not just in sport but in every day life. Thanks again.”
~Darren, Sports Dad
“We just completed the first ten tips, it has helped tremendously for (our daughter) and us. We’ve learned to keep our behavior and comments in check. She’s letting mistakes happen and not worrying about them, she’s now just moves on to the next play with the same attitude as before the mistakes. She’s playing more aggressively all game. Her coach even mentioned that whatever we are doing, keep doing because it’s working.”
~Scott, Sports Dad
Boost Your Self-Confidence With Expert Mental Game Coaching!
Expert mental game coach Dr. Patrick Cohn can help your sports kids overcome their sports mental game issues with personal coaching.
You can work with Dr. Cohn himself in Orlando, Florida or via Skype, FaceTime, or telephone. Call us toll free at 888-742-7225 or contact us for more information about the different coaching programs we offer!
What are our mental coaching students saying?
“Ashley wanted me to let you know that she placed very well at her competition this past weekend, thanks to you! She won the short, won the long, and had her personal best. She now looks at her competitions like ice shows and has fun. It is really nice to see her thoroughly enjoying the skate. She is very focused and very confident. We definitely attribute this to you.”
~Brenda Glassco, Skating Parent
“I wanted to say that your program was one of the contributing factors that has helped Michelle improve her hitting. Last week she had the most relaxed, confident games at bat ever! The mental exercises have started to make things click. The mental program is something she can practice in other facets of life. I am pleased that we decided to invest in your program, the results are showing.”
~Jim Ellis, Michelle’s father
“Dr. Cohn’s mental coaching has really helped our son Justin gain confidence in his riding and teach us how improve teamwork on and off the track.”
~Stephanie Starling, Justin’s Mother
*Testimonials found on this site are examples of what we have done for other clients, and what some of our clients have said about us. However, we cannot guarantee the results in any case. Your results may vary and every situation is different. No compensation was provided for these testimonials.