Expectations in Young Athletes
Mary, a sports mom, says she’s at a loss about how to help her talented 16-year-old baseball player overcome his perfectionism and start playing well again.
“He has always been a very strong baseball player. He is a pitcher who hitters don’t like to face and a strong hitter. He pitched games where he would strike out 16 of the 18 batters he would face. He hit grand slams in close games. Until the age of 15 he had strong emotional command of his game, which made him perform consistently well,” she says.
Now comes the problem many perfectionists face.
“Last season and this season he has been such a perfectionist that he isn’t playing well at all. He thinks that others are expecting so much from him and he is letting them down. I’ve tried to tell him all the things that I’ve learned from your emails but he denies that he is being hard on himself… He loves baseball,” she says.
Often, when kids excel in sports, they start feeling as if they have to carry the team. They worry about letting down their teammates if they don’t perform up to unreasonably high expectations. This is a classic characteristic of perfectionism.
How can you help kids like this baseball player?
First of all, help your athletes identify their high expectations. These are the unwritten demands they have for their performance.
- Do they expect to always be the highest scorer?
- Do they feel as if it’s up to them to carry the team?
- Do they have to perform at their peak all the time or they fold?
Next, explain that such high expectations only lead to frustration. Encourage your young athletes to focus on small objectives that help them focus on the process, rather than on the outcome. Some examples:
- I’ll be a great team player today.
- I’ll improve my rebounding.
- I’ll focus on passing well to my teammates.
Next, watch what you say to your young athletes! Often, parents say things that makes kids’ adopt your expectations.
You may not mean to do this, but often, saying things like, “Go out there and score 10 goals!” or “I’m sure you’ll be the lead scorer today,” makes kids feel as if they have to achieve these high expectations. When they don’t, they get frustrated and their confidence and performance sinks.
Want to learn more about how to help kids overcome perfectionism and the fear of failure that accompanies it?
We’ve got a great program for you–actually two programs in one! It’s called “Helping Young Athletes Kick Perfectionism and Fear of Failure,” and includes audio and a manual for parents and coaches, and audio and a workbook for young athletes.
It teaches you and your kids everything you need to know aout overcoming perfectionism in ways that allow kids to play more freely and confidently. Check it out here:
What do parents say about our resources?
“After listening to a couple of your podcasts and reading your ’10 Tips To Confidence In Youth Sports,’ most of the challenges you make note of apply to my 14-year-old son. He’s got all the physical ability, but the more mistakes he makes, the worse it seems to get. So reading and listening to your information has been so helpful and validates what I have observed in him for the past few months. Thank you so much!”
~Brenda Felder, Everett, WA
Help your young athletes learn how to manage their perfectionism!
PS. Don’t forget to check out our Kicking Perfectionism program to learn all the ways it will help you and your young athletes! Helping Young Athletes Kick Perfectionism And Fear of Failure.
Get the program free as a member of Kids’ Sports Psychology.
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?
“Your Information Had Been So Helpful”
“After listening to a couple of your podcasts and reading your “10 tips to confidence in youth sports,” most of the challenges you make note of apply to my 14-year-old son. He’s got all the physical ability, but the more mistakes he makes, the worse it seems to get. So reading and listening to your information has been so helpful and validates what I have observed in him for the past few months. Thank you so much!”
~Brenda Felder, Everett, WA
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.”