Signs of Performance Anxiety in Young Athletes

How to Help Young Athletes Enjoy Sports

Many athletes limit their performance due to anxiety, tension, worry, and fear.

Sports are supposed to be fun, not stressful for your athletes, right?

Parents and coaches, we can help you identify when sports kids are suffering from anxiety–and determine how to help them.

First of all, how do you recognize your kids suffer from anxiety that affects their sports performance?

Kids who are suddenly reluctant to play, who used to enjoy sports but don’t anymore, or who complain of headaches and stomachaches might be suffering from anxiety.

Some kids may look scared playing sports; they play too safe or tentatively. They might look highly distracted.

A clear sign of anxiety or worry is when kids play well in practice, but them shut down and look like different athletes in competition.

If you think your athlete is fearful or anxious about competition, you want to find out what the source of fear is.

Start by talking with your athlete and show that you understand. You might ask, “You look worried on the field, what’s so stressful about playing sports?”

You can explore these questions with them:

*Are you worried about making mistakes?

*Are you concerned with what your teammates think about you?

*Are you worried about letting down the coach?

*Are you worried about disappointing us if you don’t do well?

*Are you concerned about losing and what might happen?

You might be able to see a change in your athletes demeanor in competition, but not know what’s going on in their heads.

And sometimes kids don’t know the real source of their apprehension. They just know they feel tight and awkward and don’t understand it themselves.

Telling your athletes to take a few deep breaths might help calm them, but this might be just a band aid to what they are feeling.

If they try to avoid mistakes, losing, or embarrassment, ask them to focus on being a kid and playing with friends–they need to stay in the moment and get into a child-like mindset.

If they worry about letting down others, you want them to know you and the coach support and love them no matter how well they perform.

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

The Composed Sports Kid

“The Composed Sports Kid” audio and workbook digital download program for young athletes and their parents or coach helps kids cope with frustration and anger in sports. Help your sports kids learn how to manage expectations and let go of mistakes so they can keep their head in the game. 

The Composed Sports Kid system is really two programs in one–one program to train parents and coaches how to help their kids practice composure, and one program that teaches young athletes–ages 6 to 13–how to improve composure, let go of mistakes quickly, have more self-acceptance, and thus enjoy sports more

1 thought on “Signs of Performance Anxiety in Young Athletes”

  1. My son never looked worried at all. He did not even know he was anxious, but he began throwing up the first game of the season a few years ago. It continued for two years, and I am very proud of how we handled it. It is a long story, but if anyone ever wants to hear about it, email me. He is now 11 and did not vomit this entire year.

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