When Young Athletes Doubt Their Skills When Criticized

How to Strengthen Young Athletes’ Confidence

Do your young athletes start to doubt themselves and lose confidence when they are criticized or given feedback in sports?

One soccer player puts it this way:

“I’m often challenged mentally during practice if a teammate tells me how I can’t do a certain thing, such as properly marking my opponent. I end up questioning my ability to do so, therefore affecting my performance negatively.”

Self-doubt, which this athlete describes well, is one of the biggest mental game challenges in youth sports.

Young athletes who experience self-doubt need to embrace mental game skills that will prevent them from allowing others’ negativity–or other issues–hurt their confidence.

Sports kids possess high levels of confidence for two reasons: First, they focus on the things they can control and not the opinions of others or distractions that sneak into their minds.

Second, confident kids have a strong belief in their ability to perform. These sports kids even believe they can produce results in competition, even if no one else has ever produced those results.

Here’s how Steph Curry, guard for the Golden State Warriors, describes his own confidence:

“I don’t listen much to any of what anybody says about what we [the Golden State Warriors] can or cannot do or what I can do personally. I don’t know if that’s stubbornness or ultimate self-confidence but it’s just the fact that I know who I’m rolling with in that locker room, we just gotta believe.”

Here are three ways to help strengthen kids’ confidence, especially when they’re feeling self-doubt.

–Remind them that confidence comes from within. It doesn’t come from others, and young athletes shouldn’t let others drag down their confidence.

–Kids can build confidence with repetition and drilling, but they must believe they can carry these skills to competition.

–Young athletes should always look inside and focus on their talents. At the same time, they should strive to improve weaknesses.

Always remind kids: Confidence comes from inside, not outside. That’s why it’s called self-confidence!

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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.

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