Reasons Why Sports Kids Don’t Believe in Themselves
For a number of reasons, many sports kids don’t believe in themselves—and that’s bad news for them, their teams and their coaches.
Here are just a few causes:
- They doubt their abilities
- They’re perfectionists and expect too much
- Their parents pressure them too much
When kids don’t believe in themselves, they hurt their performance and enjoyment of sports.
Kymber Veautour, a Top Warner cheer coach who has garnered two national wins, says this is the main problem that hurts her team members’ mental game. But she has lots of ideas for overcoming this challenge.
“I continuously have to be an advocate for the children on my teams. For some reason they have blocks that lead them to failure. I tell them the only thing that’s stopping themselves is themselves.”
One of the problems, says Veautour, is parents.
They have a hard time striking that fine balance between pushing kids too hard and simply supporting them, she says. It’s a hard balance to achieve, she adds.
“Strong involvement from parents can be detrimental,” she says.
At the same time, parents need to be supportive. They can’t back off entirely.
“You can see the effects on kids. They try so hard to please their parents. It affects everything they do.”
Here at Kids’ Sports Psychology, we agree with Veautour and believe that a number of other factors affect whether kids believe in themselves…
Often, for whatever reason, kids embrace beliefs that cause them to doubt themselves. For example, they give themselves negative labels. “I’m not a good tumbler,” they say. Sometimes, external factors are the influence. One example is coaches who only focus on the negative.
Here’s the good news. Veautour—who after all, has garnered a few national championships—has some strategies for helping these kids.
First of all, she tells kids to take it step by step. If they can conquer one step in cheering, they’re ready for the next. And the next…
We call this focusing on the moment—not on outcomes like wins. Kids need to focus on what they need to do right now to get the job done.
Second, Veautour removes labels. She tells kids they’re all cheerleaders—not bad tumblers or bad jumpers. She reminds them that they’re all good at something.
Third, Veautour works one-on-one with kids who have had bad days. She doesn’t focus on the negatives, but reminds them that tomorrow is another day. “I tell them to go home, take a shower, relax and think about what they did. Take it one step at a time.”
And fourth, we’d like to remind parents that kids need to understand they can’t be perfect every day. It’s okay for sports kids to have a bad day as long as they grow and learn from their mistakes—instead of beating themselves up.
Want to learn more about how to be Ultimate Sports Parents and help your sports kids make the most of their physical talent? Here at Kids’ Sports Psychology, we can help you do just that. Our resources include e-books, articles, audios interviews like the one we did with Veautour, and videos.
For example, these resources are available to exclusive Kids’ Sports Psychology members:
- Kick Fear of Failure and Perfectionism, an e-book specifically for sports kids.
- Building Self-Esteem with Equal Playing Time, an interview with expert Brian Sanders.
- When Tennis Kids Pressure Themselves to Be Perfect, an interview with Jane, a tennis pro and sports mom.
Help your kids cope with perfectionism and develop conbfidence faster at Kids’ Sports Psychology!
If you’re an exclusive Kids’ Sports Psychology member, you can listen to our interview with Veautour—which covers how she deals with Facebook use, why heavy cheerleaders inspire others and other issues.
Help Young Athletes Boost Confidence in Sports!
Do your young athletes:
- Criticize themselves often after making mistakes?
- Freeze up and look scared when faced with competitive pressure?
- Lose confidence after working with a negative coach?
- Perform like stars in practice but freeze up or play tentatively during games or competitions?
If so, check out The Ultimate Sports Parent!
The Ultimate Sports Parent will teach you powerful mental toughness secrets to improve your child’s success in sports.
Get proven strategies form leading youth sports experts!
What are sports parents saying?
“Performed without Fear and Focus on the Process”
“The Ultimate Sports Parent Workbook Program totally changed our families approach to sports and I am so very grateful. My boys 7 and 10 are able to deal better with negative coaches, perform without fear, and focus way less results and focus better the process. One boy was amazingly able to regain composure and end the season with a positive attitude. I am on your web site all the time and am currently beginning The Confident Athlete series.”
~Sarah Bateman, Sports Parent
“Maintained Total Composure!”
“We have purchased all of your CD’s, my child has gone through The Focused, Confident, Composed, and Fearless Athlete Programs. And I just listened to the Ultimate Sports Parent CD. I can’t tell you enough how helpful these have been. My child just played in a major competition and he maintained total composure, fought in competition mode not training mode, was totally confident. THANK YOU! I really believe that God lead me to your web site.”
Help Your Young Athletes Let Go of Mistakes and Cope With Frustration!
Do your sports kid shut down or act like the Incredible Hulk after they make just one mistake that no one notices?
Are you fed up with your young athletes’ self-destructive behavior?
Check out: The Composed Sports Kid
The Composed Sports Kid system is 2 programs in one.
- 1 program to train parents and coaches how to help their kids practice composure
- 1 program that teaches young athletes (ages 8-12) how to improve composure, let go of mistakes quickly, have more self-acceptance and thus enjoy sports more!
What are parents and coaches saying?
“He Has Really Benefited From The Program”
“I recently purchased The Composed Sports Kid CD program for my son Jonathan who is 10. He is a skilled soccer player that was having issues with loss of control on occasion during games. He has really benefited from the program. He carries himself much better these days and even talks about his composure after the game to me before talking about the goals that he scores.”
~Dave, Sports Parent
“Treasure Trove of Practical, Insightful Information”
“Kids’ Sports Psychology is quite a find. It’s a treasure trove of practical, insightful information presented in an organized, simple format that is so easy to use. It is exactly what I was looking for to help my daughter succeed in competition, as much as she succeeds during practice. Additionally, these concepts can be applied to all areas of her life and, as her parent, I can’t stress enough how important it is to me, that she develop confidence, and how valuable this resource is to that end. Thank you so much!”