One important challenge for sports kids today is a phenomenon called social approval. Young athletes often worry too much about what others may or may not be thinking about them.
Young athletes want other to hold them in high esteem: They want to be accepted, respected, or liked by others. To some degree, this is normal.
But when young athletes are too concerned about what others think of their performance, they often find it difficult to perform up to their abilities in competition. They worry, tighten up, and are afraid to let others down.
We think that young athletes rely too much on what they assume others think about them to boost their own self-worth. Athletes often associate self-worth with achievement in sports. They often think that if friends, coaches and family members respect or admire their athletic abilities, they’re better people.
If your sons or daughters buy into this idea, they believe they earn approval and respect points if they perform well in sports (Of course, this belief is not always true.)
Sports parents must understand that a young athlete’s need for approval exerts yet another pressure on the child or teen. Athletes who crave approval from others often become anxious in competition, worrying about failing or becoming embarrassed in public.
Worrying too much about what others think is one of the root causes underlying an athlete’s fear of failure. Athletes are afraid to fail because of the potential for negative public scrutiny by their peers!
We just finished posting another kids’ sports psychology video at our new website for parents and coaches of young athletes.
In the new video presentation, Dr. Cohn discusses four strategies to help sports kids overcome social approval. As a member of Kids’ Sports Psychology, you can watch or download this video along with many others:
Dr. Cohn’s #1 Formula for Success
Assessing Your Mental Game
Pregame Mental Toughness Strategies
Tips for Practicing Smarter, Not Harder
How to Erase Your Doubt in Sports
How to Set Positive Goals
Enhancing Trust In Yourself
How To Cope with Mistakes
How to Boost Self-Confidence
Improve Your Concentration for Sports!
Here is a page to sample the video presentations:
Members can also download e-books specifically written for kids to improve their confidence and success in sports.
Patrick Cohn and Lisa Cohn
p.s. If you are already a member of Kids’ Sports Psychology, please login to watch or download our newest presentation on how to help kids overcome social approval