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!
Learn Mental Game Lessons to Help Young Athletes With Their Pregame Prep!
Young athletes and their parents and coaches tell us that sports kids often struggle with these pregame mental game challenges:
- They fail to take charge of their confidence before the compete
- They don’t trust in their skills when they go from practice to competition
- They hang on to mistakes and dwell in them in competition
- They worry too much about what others think about their performance
- They feel pressure to excel from expectations they feel from others
- They focus too much on the outcome instead of the process
- They tighten up and play safe when they feel pressure to succeed
- They interpret pregame jitters as harmful to their performance
“10 Minute Pregame Prep” will tell you everything you need to know about ensuring your sports kids avoid classic mental game pitfalls before a game, learn how to trust their instincts, and just go for it. It provides lots of advice for you, too…
With our program, you can stop wondering what to do and relax before your kids’ games!
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