What are the biggest confidence challenges for young athletes?
They immediately focus on the negative side of the feedback that coaches are trying to give them.
That’s the word from Hal Wissel, a basketball coach who has worked for numerous NBA teams, is founder of Basketball World, and author of “Basketball: Steps to Success.”
We interviewed Wissel about his tips for building confidence in basketball shooters, and he offered some observations that apply to all young athletes.
“If you try to explain how to shoot, kids will immediately think something is wrong because you’re giving them feedback,” he says. “Many players start with the negative and think they can’t shoot.”
It’s key to begin with the positive, and to build confidence, he says. One way to do that is to teach
young athletes how to look and act like athletes.
For example, he teaches basketball players to leave their hand up in a follow-up position after they take a shot. “I tell them they look and act like shooters when they do this,” he says. “That’s a mental game advantage.”
He also reminds shooters that they don’t have to be perfect players to make a shot. Players need to avoid paralysis by analysis, he adds.
“If a player is thinking about three or four aspects of the shot, they can’t function. Skills should be free-flowing and rhythmical. If you think about too many things, it becomes mechanical.”
To teach kids to flow more freely, he teaches them rhythm.
“We teach them to bend their knees slightly and use a down-up motion. Do the down and up, start the shot and release the ball.”
“Rhythm gives them the range to make 3-point shots,” he says.
The idea is to get them into a “flow” that allows them to play intuitively and take risks. These are key to helping young athletes grow, as we’ve said many times!
Want to learn many more confidence-boosting tips for young athletes?
At Kids’ Sports Psychology, exclusive members can download our full interview with Wissel, “Top Confidence Tips from a former NBA Coach.”
But that’s not all. Members have access to loads of videos, articles, e-books, Questions-and-Answers and audio interviews—all designed to ensure you improve your sports parenting skills and your kids make the most of their physical talent.
What are sports parents saying about our resources?
“Kids’ Sports Psychology is a great web site by the way. One of the best web sites I’ve been on. It’s really, really helpful.”
~Gavin Clark, PGA, England
Visit Kids’ Sports Psychology to learn how to ensure your young athletes make the most of their
P.S. Wissel is a real pro who understands confidence building. Exclusive members of Kids’ Sports Psychology can listen to our full interview with him here:
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