Fear of Failure in Youth Sports
Fear of failure is a common challenge for sports kids.
It looks like this: Sally, a soccer player, dribbles down the field and loses the ball. As soon as she makes a mistake in the game, she starts worrying about making other mistakes.
So she starts playing to avoid mistakes—instead of taking risks and going for it.
If she simply moved on, took risks and played with all her heart, she’d likely fare much better. She’d make some mistakes—but she’d learn from them. She’d also learn more by playing hard and forgetting about failing. Ultimately, she’d be a more confident player.
Alas, many kids suffer from fear of failure these days. They’re often perfectionists, or kids who want everything to look and feel perfect, or they’re worried what others will think of them when they mess up.
To help sports kids overcome fear of failure, adults can establish a ritual that allows them to move on after making mistakes. For example, the Positive Coaching Alliance says that parents and coaches should mime a flushing motion to young athletes after they make mistakes. The motion tells them, “Move on; don’t focus on your mess up.”
In addition, parents need to remind kids that they don’t have to be perfect when they play sports—and they shouldn’t be. There’s no such thing as perfection!
Parents can give kids three or four “Get out of jail” cards, hopefully to remind them that if they make mistakes, they should give themselves a break.
Want to learn more about one of the biggest challenges kids face in sports?
Our program, “Helping Young Athletes Kick Perfectionism and Fear of Failure,” is a tried-and-true way of helping kids better understand these challenges—and to take action to improve their confidence and performance.
It includes CDs and manuals for parents interested in guiding their young athletes, plus separate CDs and workbooks for the young athletes.
What do parents and coaches say about our resources?
“We really enjoy your emails and are grateful that we found your website. It is so needed. There really isn’t much out there to guide the parent. Thank you for your work. And yes, we have passed on your website to numerous parents.”
~Debbie and Peter Cooney, Sports Parents
Help your young athletes overcome fear of failure and boost their confidence—in sports and life!
Help Young Athletes Overcome Perfectionist Challenges in Sports!
Sports Parents’ Top Dilemma: Helping Young Athletes Kick Perfectionism And Fear of Failure will walk you through the problem and arm you with practical solutions.
The Sports Parents’ Top Dilemma is a two part program. It includes:
- A 23 page E-book that identifies the challenge, explains why it is harmful to young athletes and gives step-by-stop sports psychology tips for helping kids.
- A 21 page kids’ sports psychology workbook that is intended to help you kids identify beliefs and expectations that are the root of perfectionism.
Now you can learn how to help young athletes overcome the difficult cycle of perfectionism, fear of failure and loss of confidence!
What are parents saying?
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“After listening to a couple of your podcasts and reading your “10 tips to confidence in youth sports,” most of the challenges you make note of apply to my 14-year-old son. He’s got all the physical ability, but the more mistakes he makes, the worse it seems to get. So reading and listening to your information has been so helpful and validates what I have observed in him for the past few months. Thank you so much!”
~Brenda Felder, Everett, WA
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This is a 7-day program for sports parents and kids to boost young athletes’ performance, happiness and success… in sports and life!
The Confident Sports Kid program is actually two programs: one that teaches sports parents how to boost their kids’ confidence, and another that teaches young athletes age 8 to 12 how to improve their self talk, avoid negative thinking, overcome expectations that limit confidence, and much more.
What are parents and coaches saying?
“Each Race He Was More Calm, Composed, And Relaxed”
“I just wanted to say thank you for your wonderful programs. My son Kai was one of the fastest 10 and under swimmers in Southern California and after he “aged up” to the 11-12 group he really lost confidence swimming against the much faster and bigger boys. He started with the Confident Sports Kids series and really enjoyed each and every lesson. He then started the Composed Kid series and built on the important building blocks that he was using from the first series. I so happy to report that Kai was able to swim to best times in each and every event he swam at the biggest and most important meet of the year in So Cal, the Club Championships. Each race he was more calm, composed, and relaxed. The final race was one that he was ranked last and one of his goals was to try for top 16…he was 49th! He cut over 4 seconds off his time ending up in 17th. He was ecstatic to say the least.”