How Young Athletes Lose Confidence with Comparisons

Youth Sports Psychology

Making Comparisons in Youth Sports

We are seeing a disturbing trend today in young athletes – one that coaches and parents need to understand and address.

Sports kids today spend too much time making comparisons to their competitors or teammates!

They focus on how others are performing, rather than concentrating on their own game. They do this in a number of ways—and none of them are good news for the young athletes.

Sports kids might:

  • Compare themselves to friends who are gifted athletes
  • Focus on athletes of the same ability level who perform better than them
  • Feel jealous of teammates who get more playing time
  • Feel jealous of high-performing siblings
  • Worry about their size and think about how a taller or bigger player might beat them

Why does this matter to you as a sports parent?

Because this behavior hurts your kids’ confidence and success in sports!

Here’s the good news: There are steps you can take to help your kids focus more on their own talents, which boosts their confidence. Read on to learn more!

So, what’s wrong when sports kids make comparisons and focus on how everyone around them is performing?

Here’s the problem: When kids focus on others’ strengths, they’re psyching themselves out. And that hurts their confidence. We like to say that they’re intimidating themselves.

If all they can think about is their opponents’ big muscles and fancy uniforms, they’re not focusing on what’s most important—their own game.

Instead, they’re concentrating on what makes competitors (or teammates) better than they are. The young athletes are thinking about what’s wrong with their own abilities or skills.

Generally, kids who do this don’t have enough confidence in their own skills to believe they can compete with others.

It’s possible, however, to help young athletes stop making comparisons and stop psyching themselves out.

First of all, these kids need to change what they focus on. That means focusing, for example, on their own warm-up routine before a game.

Second, they need to stop putting their opponents on a pedestal. They have to stop being in awe of them. Again, kids should focus on what their own strengths and on getting their own job done.

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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.

1 thought on “How Young Athletes Lose Confidence with Comparisons”

  1. I love this article–I think all parents need to keep this in mind! We continue to tell our kids that there are only 2 things you can control..your attitude and how hard you work.

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