Motivating Sports Kids
“My young athlete seems to love sports, but just doesn’t apply himself. I remind him every day to practice more and concentrate more, but that doesn’t work. How can I motivate him?”
This is a question we often get from parents. They say their kids love sports, are eager to go to games, but seem to spend a lot of time fooling around during practice. Or they don’t like to practice.
What should parents and coaches do in this case?
First of all, you need to understand why your kids are playing sports in the first place. Keep in mind that they may be participating for different reasons than your reasons for wanting them to participate.
Talk to your kids–and observe them–to better understand why they like playing sports.
They often like participating because they want to be with friends. They like the social aspect and part of being a team. Or they may like competing. Or they may simply like the coach and want to spend time with him or her.
Once you understand why your kids are participating in sports, try to tap into those reasons.
Provide situations that your child will enjoy–playing in the park with friends–if they’re in it for the social aspect, for example. Or you might arrange neighborhood games if your child likes to compete. This will help provide the social support they need.
Be sure to separate your reasons for wanting them to play sports with their reasons for wanting to play.
For example, you may want your kids to play to get exercise. Or you may want them to play because you hope they’ll get a scholarship some day. On the other hand, they may want to play because they like being outdoors after school, or because a best friend is on the team.
Nagging kids to practice can backfire.
It won’t support their own reasons for participating in sports. If they succumb to parental pressure, they’ll be playing for you–not for themselves.
That won’t lead to a positive experience. You want the drive to participate to come from within–not from you.
Want to learn more about how and why young athletes feel motivated?
At Kids’ Sports Psychology, exclusive members have access to our e-book, “Motivate Young Athletes in Sports and Life,” which identifies how motivated kids behave, explains what kinds of situations undermine kids’ motivation, and tells parents and coaches what to do to motivate young athletes.
And that’s not all that exclusive KSP members get. They gain access to our complete library of e-books— some written for parents and coaches, others specifically for sports kids.
Also available are videos, articles, Question-And-Answers and audio interviews with youth sports experts.
What do sports parents say about our resources?
“I especially like the mental game videos that my son can watch alone or we can watch together. The videos help to reinforce all the concepts we have learned together. I think the pre-game stuff is cool and the lessons on confidence, coping with doubt, and trust are worth their weight in gold.”
~Dr. Adam Glantzman
P.S. We’ve got some great tips for helping you deal with the frustrating challenge of motivating sports
kids in our “Motivate Young Athletes in Sports and Life” e-book. If you’re an exclusive Kids’ Sports Psychology member, download it here:
Motivate Young Athletes in Sports and Life
Help Your Young Athletes Improve Focus In Sports!
Are your young athletes easily distracted by people shouting on the sidelines? Do they obsess over their mistakes? Do they worry about what people think of them?
These issues will cause their concentration and performance to suffer!
The Focused Sports Kid helps kids overcome distractions that can hurt their performance in sports.
This is a 7-day program for sports parents and kids to discover secrets to helping young athletes improve focus and concentration!
The Focused Sports Kid program is actually two programs: one for sports parents/coaches that provides mental game tips especially designed for parents and coaches, and for young athletes, ages 8 to 12, that will walk them through 7 simple lessons in mental focus in sports.
What are parents and coaches saying?
“I read your report and prepared a one-page summary for my team. I asked the team to attend a 10am training session on Saturday before the final on Sunday. (I told parents) they must obtain the one-page summary handout from me and ask a parent to read it to them until they understood what it meant…My boys succeeded! We beat a team that no one could beat during the year, that was coached by a former professional player that had sons of former Professional players in the team and as a result of believing in themselves, they won. In my humble opinion , I look beyond the game and hope the kids have learned a lesson in life that you really can do almost anything if you put your mind to it. We salute you and the wonderful work you do.”
~Anthony (Tony) Costa, coach
“We just completed the first ten tips, it has helped tremendously for (our daughter) and us. We’ve learned to keep our behavior and comments in check. She’s letting mistakes happen and not worrying about them, she’s now just moves on to the next play with the same attitude as before the mistakes. She’s playing more aggressively all game. Her coach even mentioned that whatever we are doing, keep doing because it’s working.”
~Scott, Sports Dad
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?
“My wife and I immediately applied your tips and luckily we got a fast response. Our 16-year-old daughter reads like a case study for lack of confidence. She matches the profile your e-book describes: high technical ability and successful in soccer practice but looks like she forgets how to play in games!”
~Glenn G. New Jersey
“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