Why Having Fun Helps Sports Kids Perform Well

Youth Sports Psychology

Why Having Fun in Sports is so Important

High school athlete Jacob understands why having fun is hands-down the most important thing kids can do when all seems lost.

In a recent interview, he told us that when his team is down, or if he makes mistakes, his confidence starts to slip—until he reminds himself that it’s important to focus on having fun.

“I forget my mistakes and tell myself that no matter what happens, we’re in this for fun and we’re just going to have fun.”

Here at Kids’ Sports Psychology, we like Jacob’s attitude. In fact, we want kids to focus on having fun. Why, you may ask?

Focusing on fun helps kids play better.

Here’s why…

When Jacob makes mistakes or when his team is down, he’s probably tempted to berate himself, call himself negative names, and worry too much about the score. When kids do this, they fall into a terrible trap. They become afraid to fail. And that’s bad news.

Kids who are controlled by their fear of failure play tentatively. They stop taking risks, which is a key to growing and playing well. Rather than getting in the game, taking risks, and making things happen, they play to avoid making mistakes. That’s a real no-no.

However, if kids tell themselves they’re in this to have fun, they loosen up, forget about their fears and take risks. This can help them start to make things happen on the court or field.

As sports parents and coaches, you can help kids focus on fun.

Here are just a few tips:

  • Be sure to focus on what they did well during a game.
  • Help them “let go of” mistakes by giving them a flushing sign that means “flush it away!”
  • Rather than saying “Score 10 points” to your sports kids before games, tell them, “Have fun out there!”
  • Understand what makes sports fun for your kids, and then support that. For example, if it’s fun for your child to go to a game along with a friend, make sure the two are driven to games together.

Do you want to learn more about how to help your kids have fun, gain more confidence, and make the most of their sports experience?

Here at Kids’ Sports Psychology, we can help you do just that. Our resources, available only to exclusive members, include:

  • “Seven Strategies to Help Kids Stay Composed After Making Mistakes,” an e-book written specifically for sports kids
  • Ask the Expert: “My son isn’t having as much fun as he used to!” with a response from Dr. Patrick Cohn
  • Audio interview with youth sports expert Dr. Gary Brazina about how to put the fun back in sports.

*Subscribe to The Sports Psychology Podcast on iTunes
*Subscribe to The Sports Psychology Podcast on Spotify

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.
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2 thoughts on “Why Having Fun Helps Sports Kids Perform Well”

  1. As a former youth basketball and baseball coach, too much pressure is placed on kids these days to perform. What parents need to realize is that kids must first enjoy the activity, and if they do, everything else will fall into place. If they like it they will want more of it naturally and will take the initiative to want to work harder. Also, if kids enjoy the activity, overcoming temporary failure is usually easier to deal with.

  2. As a parent and sports psychologist, I agree that a child must stay in touch with the love and the fun of the sport. When this is lost, everything is lost.

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