Are You Helping Or Hurting Sports Kids Before Games?
Just before a game, sports parents can significantly boost their kids’ confidence and focus—or they can rattle kids’ nerves.
The hours or moments before a game begins can make or break your kids’ experience…
If you spend a lot of time reminding them of past mistakes, nagging them to remember a new skill, or focusing on the mechanics of their sport, you’re not doing them any favors.
Instead, you want to help them trust in their own abilities. Know how much they want you to talk before games. Tell them to “Have fun” or “Trust your practice.”
In addition, be sure to let your kids know that you love and appreciate them no matter how they perform. And don’t over-coach or over-analyze your young athlete just before the game.
Less is better.
And when the game is over, you also should be careful about what you say to your sports kids. Dwelling on their mistakes or failures can instill perfectionism—an issue we see my athletes today!
Instead, be sure to make at least two positive comments about your sports kids’ game or performance. For example, you might say, “You were a great team player today,” or “You really put your heart into defense today, and it paid off.”
You might ask your sports kids to identify what they did well. Don’t dwell on their mistakes. Your kids are well aware of what they did wrong! And avoid focusing on statistics or scores. Don’t go over the game play-by-play unless your kids obviously want to have this discussion. If they seem like they don’t want to talk about the game, help them shift gears into other areas of their lives.
Want to learn more pre-game and post-game tips for sports parents?
Exclusive members of Kids’ Sports Psychology have immediate access to our Pre-Game and Post-Game checklists here:
They also have access to audio interviews, e-books, videos, articles and much more—all designed to help you boost your kids’ confidence and help them make the most of youth sports.
What do sports parents have to say about our sports psychology tips for young athletes and parents?
“I’ve read so much of what you’ve done. You’re way on top of this more than anyone else. Please keep up the good work for the rest of us across the US.”
~Jack Malley, sports dad, coach and author of “Meet The Lunatics Who Run Your Kids’ Sports Leagues”
P.S. What you say or do just before and after your kids’ games can make or break their confidence. If you’re a member of KSP can get your pregame and postgame tips here:
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~Scott, Sports Dad
Help Young Athletes Boost Confidence in Sports!
Do your young athletes:
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