Encouraging Leadership Skills in Youth Sports
Leadership skills are essential for sports kids who want to become more valuable to their teams.
Here’s the good news: Becoming a leader is a straightforward process that requires the same commitment and dedication your kids would give to their jump shots.
That’s the word from Jamy Bechler, a former college basketball coach and author of “The Leadership Playbook: Be Your Team’s Most Valuable Leader.”
He says, “I want kids to understand that leadership starts with them. They need character traits that are universal. They need to take responsibility for their actions, and not blame others. Help them understand they do control their actions. That’s where leadership starts.”
How can you help your sports kids and players become better leaders, at the same time boosting their confidence?
Here are some tips from Bechler:
When your kids make mistakes, remind them to take responsibility for those mistakes. Often kids will try to lay the blame on a teammate out of embarrassment. Remind your kids that blaming others just makes them look worse.
Encourage them instead to admit their mistakes!
Tell kids that when they strike out, rather than wallowing in their mistakes, they should high-five the person on deck to provide encouragement.
Resilience is key in your young athletes’ mental game.
Demonstrating resilience will encourage the team, make the team think more highly of the player, and inevitably make your child even more resilient.
Remind your sports kids that when their teammates make mistakes, they should help them refocus. The team should be like a family; remind your kids to help teammates out when possible.
Parents and coaches have to establish a culture of, “We’re going to have your back.” The team should have a consistent, “We’re in this together” attitude.
Bechler’s book emphasizes that everyone can be a leader–not just the starters, the seniors, or the captains. The idea that a team can only have one leader is outdated and incorrect, he says. With more players who show leadership qualities, a team will perform better…
Want to learn more about how to help your kids build leadership skills, boost their confidence, and become more valuable to their teams?
Listen to the podcast: Helping Your Sports Kids Build Leadership Skills:
Young athletes, their parents and coaches tell us that sports kids often struggle with these pregame mental game challenges:
- They don’t trust in their skills when they go from practice to competition
- They hang on to mistakes and dwell in them in competition
- They worry too much about what others think about their performance
- They feel pressure to excel from expectations they feel from others
- They fail to take charge of their confidence before the compete
- They focus too much on the outcome instead of the process
- They tighten up and play safe when they feel pressure to succeed
- They interpret pregame jitters as harmful to their performance
“10 Minute Pregame Prep” will tell you everything you need to know about ensuring your sports kids avoid classic mental game pitfalls before a game, learn how to trust their instincts, and just go for it. It provides lots of advice for you, too…
Parents ask us:
“I am more nervous than my son before games. How do I as a parent stay calm and not show I am nervous before games?”
“My challenge is not to talk too much about the upcoming games or what they need to do. I want to psych him up and encourage him but don’t want him to feel that he has to perform perfectly.”
“How do I support my athlete without putting more pressure on him?”
With our program, you can stop wondering what to do and relax before your kids’ games!
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