How to Help Kids Stop Dwelling on Mistakes

Coping With Mistakes

Helping Young Athletes Let Go of Mistakes

When kids hang onto mistakes, they often end up experiencing low confidence, frustration and poor performance.

When they dwell on their mistakes, they can’t focus in the moment or have fun playing sports because they become so angry with themselves.

It’s especially important that they understand this just before a game or performance.

Help kids understand that when they dwell on mistakes, they focus on the past—not on the current play.

They need to focus on the moment in order to perform well and enjoy sports.

When you dwell on your athletes’ mistakes—talking about previous mistakes, or warning them before a game not to goof up—you aren’t helping them. You’re only making them focus on their mistakes.

Your job is to help them accept mistakes, be ready to take risks, and perform without the worry of making mistakes!

The kids most likely to have trouble letting go of their mistakes are perfectionists.

These are kids who expect a lot of themselves and want to be “perfect” when playing sports.

Your task is to help athletes move on after making mistakes.

You can give them a “flushing” sign when they make mistakes, as suggested by the Positive Coaching Alliance. This tells them to let go of the mistake and move onto the next play.

In addition, just before a game or performance, you can encourage them to tell themselves:

  • “Everyone makes mistakes on my team, accept it.”
  • “If pro athletes make mistakes, I can too.”
  • “Mistakes don’t make me angry, I make myself angry.”
  • “I can still perform well or win, even with mistakes.”
  • “What’s most important is how I respond after mistakes.”?

We suggest to parents and coaches that you allow kids to have a “human performance,” not a perfect one!

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Help Young Athletes Boost Confidence in Sports!

The Ultimate Sports Parent

Every day, we receive letters from parents like you who want their children and teens to excel in sports. However, these parents can see fear, doubt, and frustration on the faces of their kids who struggle with the “inner” game of sports. But these parents have no idea how to help their kids overcome the worries, expectations and self-defeating thoughts that prevent their young athletes from feeling confident and successful.

You can benefit from our 15-plus years’ of work in sports psychology and sports parenting research. Now, you can tap into our secrets to sports success through a cutting-edge, 14-day program that helps young athletes overcome the top “mental game” challenges that sports parents face—and the top challenges young athletes face.

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