When Kids Play Better in Practice Than Games

 Overcoming Fears in Youth Sports

Helping Sports Kids Take Confidence to Games

A sports parent asks:

“My child is consistently amazing in practice, his coach tells me he’s one of the best practice players on the team, but he freezes up when game time comes! What can I do to help this?”

When kids under perform in competition (compared to practice), this is the number one reason they might need mental training.

If your children are performing better in practice than in games, it’s likely they are struggling with one or more mental game challenges, including:

  • Fear of failure
  • Fear of making mistakes
  • Worrying about what others think
  • A reluctance to trust in the skills they’ve learned in practice.

If they’re afraid of failing, for example, they play it safe to avoid making mistakes. When they do make mistakes, they get frustrated and often play even more safe.

As they fall into this negative spiral, they may worry that others are judging their poor performance, which can amplify their fear of failure.

Meanwhile, even though they do very well in practice they don’t trust the skills that they acquired in practice. That’s because they are playing scared, unable to play intuitively and freely.

You want kids to trust their skills and play intuitively and freely.

You want them to take risks.

To help kids who don’t perform as well in games as during practice, help them get over their fear of making mistakes. Tell them that they learn from mistakes. Give them a few “out of jail” cards to help them feel okay about mistakes.

When they do goof up, give them a flushing sign to encourage them to move on, as suggested by the Positive Coaching Alliance. And make sure they’re focusing on their performance, not on their worries about what others think of them.

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Improve Your Mental Game From Anywhere In The World

We’re certain that, as a parent, you want to help your child develop confidence and discipline in sports and life. And as a sports parent, you’d love for your children to reach their potential in sports. But encouraging your child to strive for greatness without pressuring them can be a challenge.

You can get expert mental coaching with us from anywhere. Meet with us via Zoom, Skype, FaceTime or phone call. With today’s video technology, we are able to connect with athletes and coaches all over the globe.

Call Us Today to Schedule Your Free 15-Minute Session.
Find Out How Your Athlete Can Benefit From One-on-One Mental Coaching!

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