Helping Kids Who Perform Better in Practice Than Competition

Youth Sports Psychology

Confidence During Competition

Do your sports kids excel in practice, but lose confidence and under-perform during competition?

That’s the main challenge high school track-and-field coach Lumuli Kyumba faces. But she has created some winning strategies for helping kids through this challenge.

Read on to get her great tips that apply to kids in any sport…

First of all, Kyumba is right-on when she explains some of the reasons kids under-perform during competition. Her high school athletes often spend too much time comparing themselves to others before the competition. They check out the others’ stats and gape at their physical appearance.

As a result, they’re psyched out even before the competition begins! This is very common.

Kids in motocross, for example, place themselves on the starting line, knowing who their fastest competition is, and tell themselves even before the race starts, “Maybe I can finish in the top three or five.” They limit themselves with this kind of thinking.

Kyumba says she won’t let her kids look at their competitors before a competition. In addition, coaches and parents should remind kids to focus on their own strengths—not on the strengths of their competitors. If all they can think about is the competition, their minds are in the wrong place.

What’s more, kids often focus too much on technique during competition, when they ought to be trusting what they learned in practice. If they can do that, they perform more freely and naturally, take more risks and do better.

Kyumba says she drills her sports kids hard during practice so they really learn technique and can act instinctively. But to make sure they’re having fun–and are in a relaxed state that will help them perform their best–she asks them to imagine their favorite food, movie star or band is waiting on the finish line for them.

“I make a game out of it. This helps me get what I need out of them. Their form improves.” When she doesn’t do this, they think too much about technique—what they have to do with their arms and legs. “Some times kids think too much and that messes them up,” she says.

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Improve Your Mental Game From Anywhere In The World

We’re certain that, as a parent, you want to help your child develop confidence and discipline in sports and life. And as a sports parent, you’d love for your children to reach their potential in sports. But encouraging your child to strive for greatness without pressuring them can be a challenge.

You can get expert mental coaching with us from anywhere. Meet with us via Zoom, Skype, FaceTime or phone call. With today’s video technology, we are able to connect with athletes and coaches all over the globe.

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