Motivating Young Athletes Without Pressuring Them
In our survey of more than 3,000 sports parents, the top challenge cited by parents of young athletes is this:
How can I help my kids get the most of out sports without pressuring them?
In the survey, 68.7 percent of respondents named this issue as a challenge, and that makes sense. It’s not always easy helping your kids make the most of an experience without pressuring them.
Here at Kids’ Sports Psychology and Youth Sports Psychology, we suggest how you can take the pressure off your kids. But it’s not easy…
When kids participate for you and not for themselves, their motivation comes from external factors, not from within.
What’s more, when sports kids feel pressured from others via expectations, they often pressure themselves, and then get frustrated when they don’t perform well.
The first step to helping your sports kids get the most out of sports is to know why gets kids are motivated.
- Love to practice and compete
- Enjoy working on their weaknesses so they can improve
- Get excited about competition
- Want to win
- Love to be with friends
- Stay committed even after adversity
- Pursue their goals with commitment
Kids are generally motivated to play sports to be with friends or part of a group, to experience the excitement of competition, to learn and improve their skills, to improve their physical fitness or experience a “flow” or feeling of enjoyment.
To help your kids feel motivated from within, you’ll want to tap into why they’re playing. Is it one of the above reasons?
When you’re talking to them about playing or performing, keep their personal motivations in mind, which might be different from yours.
Don’t say, “I want you to have a great game today to impress Uncle Bob.” Instead, you might say, “I’ll bet you’re looking forward to playing next to your best friend today.”
Next, focus on your young athletes’ small improvements. For example, golfers can learn simple tasks such as improving their touch on the putting green.
Soccer players might focus on making solid passes to teammates. These small improvements will help young athletes feel successful.
Want to learn more about how to help young athletes feel motivated?
Exclusive members of Kids’ Sports Psychology can immediately download our e-book, “How to Motivate Young Athletes,” here:
How to Motivate Young Athletes (eBook)
Available Now: “10-Minute Pregame Prep”
Young athletes and their parents and coaches tell us that sports kids often struggle with these pregame mental game challenges:
- They feel pressure to excel from expectations they feel from others
- They focus too much on the outcome instead of the process
- They fail to take charge of their confidence before the compete
- 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 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…
With our program, you can stop wondering what to do and relax before your kids’ games!
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Learn the top 10 mental game strategies to improve confidence and success in sports and life!
Sports parents and coaches will discover:
- How kids can learn top mental strategies to perform well
- Why athletes perform tentatively/cautiously in competition
- Learn the top five “costly” sports parenting trips, and much more!
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What are sports parents and coaches saying about our tips?
“We really enjoy your emails and are grateful that we found your web site. It is so needed. There really isn’t much out there to guide parents. Thank you for your work. And yes, we have passed on your web site to numerous parents.”
~Debbie and Peter Cooney
“After listening to your podcasts and reading your free e-book, most of the challenges apply to my 14-year-old son. He’s got all the physical ability, but unsure of himself in games. He has a difficult time rebounding from errors, the screaming coach on the side, along with his uncle in the stands probably doesn’t help his confidence. 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
Help Young Athletes Boost Confidence in Sports!
Do your young athletes:
- Criticize themselves often after making mistakes?
- Freeze up and look scared when faced with competitive pressure?
- Lose confidence after working with a negative coach?
- Perform like stars in practice but freeze up or play tentatively during games or competitions?
If so, check out The Ultimate Sports Parent!
The Ultimate Sports Parent will teach you powerful mental toughness secrets to improve your child’s success in sports.
Get proven strategies form leading youth sports experts!
What are sports parents saying about our mental training program?
“I wanted to let you know that I read your last email to my 14-year-old son the evening before his final match at a tournament, which he subsequently won. He said that your message helped him to focus and win. He won 1-6, 7-5, 6-4. Thanks for your valuable insights!”
~Arjun Kalyanpur, Tennis Parent
“My wife and I immediately applied your e-book tips and luckily we got a fast response. Over a period of just four days we brought her up out of a slump to success. As soon as she started to play with a focus on “one play at a time” and was reminded that she had “permission to make mistakes,” she came out of her funk. Amazing!”
~Glenn A. Grube, Sports Parent