Helping Sports Kids Set Goals

Youth Sports Goal Setting

Building Confidence in Youth Sports

A sports parent asks:

“I hear that it’s important to help kids set goals in sports. I’m not at all sure about how to go about this. Do you have any advice?”

Goal setting is essential in and out of sports.

A 1979 Harvard study illuminated this by tracking the success of students who set goals and who did not. The result? The 13% of students who DID set goals ended up making TWICE as much money as the 87% who did not.

We see this pattern play out in all kinds of fields. Goal setting isn’t just good for sports or business, it is for success in general.

The goal setting process helps your children understand where they currently are, and where they are trying to go in their athletic efforts.

Without goals, they can end up lost and unsure of what to do. When the game is on the line, players who have goals can calmly look to them to know what to do, while players without them may hesitate under the pressure.

Players who do not set goals often fail to build confidence.

One of the keys to building confidence is step-by-step goal setting.

Kids can meet and exceed their goals while setting new ones, forming the building blocks of confidence. Goal setting will also make hard work and improvements more efficient, and the results will follow.

At the same time, you do not want to set the wrong goals for your children.

Choosing goals that are too ambitious can have the opposite of the intended effect; it can hurt kids’ confidence. If kids set their expectations to score three goals a game, they will never build confidence when they score just one.

To set solid goals, first take a look at where you want to set the expectations for your children. Then set goals in the immediate, short term, medium term, and long term.

The immediate and short-term goal successes will help kids boost confidence in the short term.

Make sure to state your goals positively! For example, instead of saying, “I won’t miss a three point shot,” say, “I want to make two three pointers in the game.”

Focus on the processes within the game and not the game as a whole when setting goals, to help your children focus on being in the moment while playing.

Make sure kids understand that they strive for goals and they are not expectations they must meet. Goals can be assessed and re-evaluated often.

At Kids’ Sports Psychology, we have a section for members on goal setting. You can learn how to teach young athletes how to set appropriate and positive goals.

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Help Your Young Athletes Improve Focus In Sports!

The Focused Sports Kid

Are your young athletes easily distracted by people shouting on the sidelines? Do they obsess over their mistakes? Do they worry about what people think of them?

These issues will cause their concentration and performance to suffer!The Focused Sports Kid helps kids overcome distractions that can hurt their performance in sports.

The Focused Sports Kid 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 7 simple lessons in mental focus in sports.

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