Motivate Young Athletes Without Pressuring Them
Sam, a Division III basketball player, says it’s hard for him to motivate himself unless his coaches are watching him and pushing him along.
As a young athlete, Sam’s not alone. We hear from many parents who say that their kids of all ages have a hard time motivating themselves under certain circumstances.
The bad news:
Athletes who lack motivation don’t play up to their potential.
The good news:
There’s lots parents and coaches can do to improve their motivation, their enjoyment and their performance.
The challenge for you, of course, is to help motivate your young athletes without pressuring them.
How exactly do you do that?
First, let’s take a step back.
What exactly is motivation?
It’s the ability to commit to a goal and pursue it with enthusiasm. This is critical to succeeding in sports.
It’s important for you, as sports parents, to understand why your young athletes play sports. Kids need to be motivated for the right reasons; reasons that are meaningful to them.
They might play to feel like they’re part of a group, or to improve their skills, or to become more physically fit, for example. They might like the excitement of competition.
You need to ensure that these desires are met by their team. For example, if they like the excitement of competition, but spend their practices doing boring drills, they won’t be very motivated.
A number of factors or experiences will also undermine kids’ motivation. Criticism is one of them. If you or your child’s coaches spend too much time criticizing your young athletes, they’ll lose motivation or begin playing tentatively, especially if they’re sensitive to criticism. They’ll be afraid of making mistakes.
If sports is all work and no fun, they’ll likely feel less motivated, as well. What’s more, if they’re not challenged, they’re likely to become bored.
Again, it’s critical to ensure your sports kids’ needs are met by ensuring they get what they want from sports. That will boost their motivation. And it doesn’t involve any pressure!
But here’s what’s most interesting: You can also help motivate your young athletes by building a strong relationship with them. Why does this matter? Kids who don’t have this strong bond have a harder time learning.
If there’s no strong parent-child bond, they become distracted by their need for attention. Kids with strong relationships with their parents are more motivated and willing to take risks!
If you’re interested in learning more about how to motivate your kids without pressuring them, here’s an e-book for you:
Improve Young Athletes’ Motivation with Goal Achievement
If you’re already a member, you get the e-book for free. You also have access to many other e-books written for sports parents and young athletes, including:
- 10 Ways of Thinking That Hurt Kids’ Confidence (for sports kids)
- 7 Strategies to Help Kids Stay Composed After Making Mistakes (for sports kids)
- Using Mental Imagery in “Get Ready” Pre-game Routines (for sports kids)
- Help Young Athletes Kick Perfectionism and Fear of Failure (for parents and coaches).
But that’s not all. You can improve your sports parenting skills and help your young athletes make the most of their physical potential by taking advantage of our many articles, audio interviews with experts, and videos.
That includes our new “Inside the Minds of Young Athletes” series, which you can watch along with your young athletes and pick up confidence-boosting tips.
Become a member today and help your young athletes improve their confidence and reap all the physical, emotional and social benefits of taking part in sports:
Kids Sports Psychology
P.S. If you’re already a member, you can download our e-book about motivating young athletes by clicking here:
Improve Young Athletes’ Motivation with Goal Achievement Ebook
Help Young Athletes Overcome Perfectionist Challenges in Sports!
Sports Parents’ Top Dilemma: Helping Young Athletes Kick Perfectionism And Fear of Failure will walk you through the problem and arm you with practical solutions.
The Sports Parents’ Top Dilemma is a two part program. It includes:
- A 23 page E-book that identifies the challenge, explains why it is harmful to young athletes and gives step-by-stop sports psychology tips for helping kids.
- A 21 page kids’ sports psychology workbook that is intended to help you kids identify beliefs and expectations that are the root of perfectionism.
Now you can learn how to help young athletes overcome the difficult cycle of perfectionism, fear of failure and loss of confidence!
What are parents saying?
“Loved Your E-book”
“I loved your e-book for sports parents. It was very helpful. I am already using the ideas you gave us in the e-book to help my child in sports.”
~Claire, Sports Parent
Help Your Young Athletes Overcome Self-Doubt In Sports!
The Confident Sports Kid helps young athletes improve confidence quickly and overcome common confidence killers that destroy motivation and fun in sports!
This is a 7-day program for sports parents and kids to boost young athletes’ performance, happiness and success… in sports and life!
The Confident Sports Kid program is actually two programs: one that teaches sports parents how to boost their kids’ confidence, and another that teaches young athletes age 8 to 12 how to improve their self talk, avoid negative thinking, overcome expectations that limit confidence, and much more.
What are parents and coaches saying?
“Each Race He Was More Calm, Composed, And Relaxed”
“I just wanted to say thank you for your wonderful programs. My son Kai was one of the fastest 10 and under swimmers in Southern California and after he “aged up” to the 11-12 group he really lost confidence swimming against the much faster and bigger boys. He started with the Confident Sports Kids series and really enjoyed each and every lesson. He then started the Composed Kid series and built on the important building blocks that he was using from the first series. I so happy to report that Kai was able to swim to best times in each and every event he swam at the biggest and most important meet of the year in So Cal, the Club Championships. Each race he was more calm, composed, and relaxed. The final race was one that he was ranked last and one of his goals was to try for top 16…he was 49th! He cut over 4 seconds off his time ending up in 17th. He was ecstatic to say the least.”