Helping Kids Get Out of Their Comfort Zone

overcome adversity in youth sports

How Getting Uncomfortable Builds Confidence

Jack Canfield, co-creator of the popular “Chicken Soup for the Soul” book series, peak performance expert and co-author of the new kids’ book “I Can Believe in Myself” was a guest on our Ultimate Sports Parent podcast recently. The father of four–who has been a sports dad and youth sports coach–gave tips about helping young athletes get out of their comfort zone and ensure they reap benefits from it in sports and life.

“Every new thing you learn is out of your comfort zone,” says Canfield. “It takes you out of your zone of familiarity; it will feel awkward.”

Parents should give kids permission to be okay feeling awkward. Kids can achieve more if they feel uncomfortable trying new things, he says.

To help kids make the most of being outside their comfort zone, teach them new skills or strategies in baby steps, he says. At first, they may feel frustrated, and that’s an important part of learning.

For example, Canfield taught his kids to juggle in baby steps. “I taught all my kids to juggle, everyone thinks they can’t learn. You can break it down into steps, beginning with passing the ball from one hand to the other.That’s all you practice, and you get that down.” Eventually he’d add another ball. “I can teach anyone to juggle, if you practice 15 minutes a day.”

When kids learn new skills outside of their zone of familiarity, they build confidence.

Canfield’s new book shows readers how to replace negative thoughts with positive ones using a ritual. Ask kids to write down their “I can’t” statements, and then get rid of them by having a funeral, burning them, or ripping them up. He encourages children and teens to celebrate the death of their “I can’t” beliefs. Then they should look in the mirror and talk to themselves, saying they can and they’ll try.

Listen to the entire interview with Canfield:

Help Your Kids Improve Mental Toughness

It’s no secret that sports success is linked closely to an athlete’s mental toughness. If your young athletes struggle to perform well in competition, are frustrated with their performance, talk about quitting or display low confidence levels, mental game training can help. Both you and your young athlete can learn how to build mental toughness and improve performance with sports psychology coaching for kids.

One-on-one sports psychology coaching is the fastest and most effective method to improve your athletes’ mental game, boost their performance, and make lasting changes. And as a bonus, parents learn what to say to help young athletes feel confident and thrive in sports. 

Please call us at 888-742-7225 with your questions. Please contact us today to learn more about individual mental coaching programs for serious young athletes on a mission to greatness:

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