Kids Who Lose Confidence When Playing in Front of Others

When Athletes Worry About Being Judged

Kids Who Lose Confidence

What can sports parents do when kids’ confidence dips when performing in front of others?

Truth is, you don’t have control over what is happening inside your kids’ minds—whether they feel pressure or not. However, you can teach them tools for managing—or eliminating—the pressure they feel.

Here’s an example… A parent tells us that she has a 12-year-old soccer player who is considered one of the top players in Cyprus in his age group. But being among the top can generate pressure.

“How can I improve his confidence–especially when he knows he is being watched by important persons (such as a coach to select the best for promoting to a better level of training groups).

His confidence drops when too many people are around him and there is somehow some external pressure.”

First of all, this player is most likely worried about letting down others in this situation. He needs to understand that focusing on others is a distraction and can undermine his confidence.

He’s likely focusing on what others think about his skills, rather than the task in front of him. He needs to stop thinking about others and focus on his game and his own strengths.

Second, this player is likely afraid of failing. For certain kids, the more success they experience, the more they’re afraid of failing. This causes them to tighten up, avoid making mistakes and stop playing with the creativity and risk-taking needed to excel.

Kids who are experiencing fear of failure need to understand what’s causing the fear. For example, they shouldn’t think they are expected to perform great or score the most goals, for example.

Instead, they need to focus on the process, which help ground them in the here-and-now. A process goal in soccer might be to make quality passes or pick a specific target before every shot on net.

These tips are just a few of the many resources we share at Kids’ Sports Psychology. For example, kids and parents struggling with pressure might check out:

  • “Kick Fear of Failure and Perfectionism,” an e-book for sports kids.
  • “Appreciate Your Talents: How To Avoid Making Comparisons,” also an e-book for sports kids.
  • “When Tennis Kids Pressure Themselves to be Perfect,” an article.

But that’s not all. We provide many more e-books, audios, videos, articles, Q and As and forums to help you be Ultimate Sports Parents and help your kids take control of their confidence.

If you become an exclusive member of Kids’ Sports Psychology, you have access to all of them.

*Subscribe to The Sports Psychology Podcast on iTunes
*Subscribe to The Sports Psychology Podcast on Spotify

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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