Coaches & Friends, Not Parents, Pressure Sports Kids, Says Study
The number of kids playing team sports is dropping quickly…
To understand the factors behind this drop off, Yellowbrick Treatment Program surveyed 1,000 Americans about pressure in youth sports, says Matt Zajechowski, senior content strategist for Yellowbrick.
Those surveyed were people who identified as having played and participated in youth sports—athletes and former athletes, he says.
“We wanted to see if parental and peer pressure had an impact on youth participation in sports as well as see what kind of effect it had on people throughout their lives,” says Zajechowski.
The results are in some ways surprising. Forty-two percent of respondents says coaches were the biggest source of pressure and 27 percent said friends.
Parents were actually named as the biggest supporters in sports, according to the study.
Thirty-two percent of respondents said Mom was the biggest supporter. Thirty-one percent of respondents said Dad was the biggest supporter.
Coach came in next, with 19 percent of respondents naming coaches as biggest supporters.
The average number of team sports played per participant has dropped by 6 percent over the last five years and participation in all sports is down 10 percent, the study found.
Also interesting is the fact that, according to the study, pressure to succeed in sports has increased over time.
“Millennials were 10 times as likely to feel pressured by their parents than Baby Boomers,” says Zajechowski.
Here at Kids’ Sports Psychology and Youth Sports Psychology, we believe that young athletes’ interest in sports should come from within—not from friends, coaches, parents or anyone else.
Our aim is to help parents and coaches instill confidence in young athletes—not pressure them to succeed.
Resources: Pressure & Youth Sports Study
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Young athletes and their parents and coaches tell us that sports kids often struggle with these pregame mental game challenges:
- They feel pressure to excel from expectations they feel from others
- They focus too much on the outcome instead of the process
- 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 tighten up and play safe when they feel pressure to succeed
- They interpret pregame jitters as harmful to their performance
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~Glenn A. Grube, Sports Parent
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!
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“After listening to your podcasts and reading your free e-book, most of the challenges apply to my 14-year-old son. He’s got all the physical ability, but unsure of himself in games. He has a difficult time rebounding from errors, the screaming coach on the side, along with his uncle in the stands probably doesn’t help his confidence. So reading and listening to your information has been so helpful and validates what I have observed in him for the past few months. Thank you so much!”
~Brenda Felder, Everett, WA