Why Over-Coaching Athletes Before Games Hurts

Confident Sports Kids

How To Avoid Over-Coaching Your Athletes

Some well-meaning parents tend to give kids too much advice just before a game.

It often sounds like this: “Don’t forget to get your foot behind the ball when you’re kicking. Keep your head up when you’re shooting.”

Worse, parents remind young athletes not to make the mistakes they made last game: “Don’t make a turnover the minute you get your hands on the ball like you did last time!”

When parents load kids’ minds with too much information like this, it’s a huge distraction for the young athletes.

We call this over-coaching. Not only does it distract young athletes from focusing on the tasks they need to do to get the job done; it can bust their confidence, especially if you focus on avoiding mistakes they made last game.

In addition, when you over-coach, you’re sending kids the signal that you don’t trust them to get the job done on their own. Put yourself in their shoes; this is likely to make them feel like they’re lacking in the skills needed to succeed.

What’s more, they may feel as if you’re pressuring them to play or perform a certain way.

Just before a game, kids’ minds are already filled. At that moment, they really need to focus on trusting in what they’ve learned and “just going for it” during a game. They don’t need to be bogged down with technical instructions.

It’s better to allow kids take control of their confidence

You want confidence to come from within your young athletes–not from you giving advice or complements to build their confidence. That’s why it’s called SELF-confidence.

Also, let the kids lead just before a game. If they ask you for advice, keep your response short. And of course, any conversations you have with your kids just before a game should be positive.

Often, the best thing you can say is, “Have fun out there!”

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We’re certain that, as a parent, you want to help your child develop confidence and discipline in sports and life. And as a sports parent, you’d love for your children to reach their potential in sports. But encouraging your child to strive for greatness without pressuring them can be a challenge.

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