Sports Kids’ And Making Comparisons
What do you do when your young athlete’s confidence sinks every time a talented friend or teammate excels in sports?
This is a common problem for young athletes. Kids are social beings—and they tend to compare themselves to their friends. But in sports, this is a bad thing to do.
Making comparisons to other athletes hurts kids’ confidence.
Here’s one sports parent whose athlete struggles with this problem:
“My daughter is a sprinter, long jumper and hurdler. She lacks confidence generally, in particular because a friend seems to be a natural at everything and beats her. Her friend has done hurdles once and already beaten my daughter’s best time, which has shattered her self-confidence. How do I build her confidence back up?”
First of all, it’s critical to help young athletes stop comparing themselves to their friends. Easy to say, not so easy to do! That’s why you need to read on for this week’s tips…
The key to helping kids stop focusing on others’ talents.
Help them focus on their own abilities and strengths. Make sure they focus on their own game—and not others’.
To understand the problem, let’s begin with the example above….
The sports parent’s daughter has a talented friend. When kids have talented friends, they tend to judge themselves against very high standards…
They then become frustrated when they don’t meet these high standards, which are based on their gifted friends’ abilities—not their own.
In short, they focus so much on the other person that they forget what important traits they’re bringing to the game or event. They’re psyching themselves out.
- They are jealous and lose confidence when kids who play at the same level perform better than they do.
- They’re jealous of siblings who perform well.
- They worry that a taller, brawnier or bigger player might beat them.
- They’re intimidated when they play teams that have a high win record.
Okay, so how do you help these kids focus on their own abilities and their own game?
First of all, it’s important for young athletes to understand the pitfalls of comparing themselves to others. Comparisons generally hurt both their performance and confidence. They need to commit to stop making comparisons for these reasons.
Just as important, it’s critical for kids to focus on what’s important. They need to focus on their own warm-up routine. They need to think about what they should do to perform well. They should not look at their opponents before a game and make comparisons.
Tell your young athletes they shouldn’t put other players on a pedestal. This psyches kids out. They’re in awe of the other players. Understand that all the players are only human. They’re not perfect, either.
Tell them to think about their own strengths and abilities.
- What’s unique about their style?
- Are they good team players?
- Good kickers?
- Do they excel at passing the ball?
They need to focus on their strengths.
Want to learn more strategies for helping kids stop comparing themselves to others? We recently completed a new e-book just for young athletes:
“Appreciate Your Talents: How to Avoid Making Comparisons.”
If you’re already a Kids’ Sports Psychology Member, you can download the e-book immediately, along with many other e-books written both for kids and adults. They include:
- Kick Fear of Failure and Perfectionism (for kids)
- Twelve Pre-game Tips to Help Kids Trust what They Learned in Practice (for kids)
- Help Young Athletes Embrace Mental Training (for sports parents and coaches)
That’s just the start of what parents and coaches can learn at Kids’ Sports Psychology…
You can download over 17 e-books to help parents and sports kids boost confidence and success in sports. You’ll also have access to audio and video programs and articles that help you and your young athletes get the most out of their physical talent and have more fun.
And you’ll want to check out our brand new video series, “Inside the Minds of Young Athletes.”
Become a member today and help your young athletes improve their mental toughness and keep their heads in the game:
Kids Sports Psychology
P.S. If you’re a Kids’ Sports Psychology member, please visit this page to access the e-book, “Appreciate Your Talents: How to Avoid Making Comparisons:”
Appreciate Your Talents: How to Avoid Making Comparisons Ebook
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.
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~Brenda Felder, Everett, WA
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The Confident Sports Kid program is actually two programs: one that teaches sports parents how to boost their kids’ confidence, and another that teaches young athletes age 8 to 12 how to improve their self talk, avoid negative thinking, overcome expectations that limit confidence, and much more.
What are parents and coaches saying?
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