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.
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.
What are folks saying about us? We often receive unsolicited compliments from our readers and members. These compliments make our day!
Just today, an email came across our desk from a sports mom:
“I love your work!”
Help your kids have fun and make the most of their physical talents.
Kids’ Sports Psychology
P.S. If you’re an exclusive Kids’ Sports Psychology member and would like to watch our “Inside The Minds of Young Athletes” video interview with Jacob, click here:
Interview with Jacob
Help Your Young Athletes Improve Focus In Sports!
Are your young athletes easily distracted by people shouting on the sidelines? Do they obsess over their mistakes? Do they worry about what people think of them?
These issues will cause their concentration and performance to suffer!
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What are parents and coaches saying?
“I read your report and prepared a one-page summary for my team. I asked the team to attend a 10am training session on Saturday before the final on Sunday. (I told parents) they must obtain the one-page summary handout from me and ask a parent to read it to them until they understood what it meant…My boys succeeded! We beat a team that no one could beat during the year, that was coached by a former professional player that had sons of former Professional players in the team and as a result of believing in themselves, they won. In my humble opinion , I look beyond the game and hope the kids have learned a lesson in life that you really can do almost anything if you put your mind to it. We salute you and the wonderful work you do.”
~Anthony (Tony) Costa, coach
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~Scott, Sports Dad
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.
The Sports Parents’ Top Dilemma is a two part program. It includes:
- A 23 page E-book that identifies the challenge, explains why it is harmful to young athletes and gives step-by-stop sports psychology tips for helping kids.
- A 21 page kids’ sports psychology workbook that is intended to help you kids identify beliefs and expectations that are the root of perfectionism.
Now you can learn how to help young athletes overcome the difficult cycle of perfectionism, fear of failure and loss of confidence!
What are parents saying?
“My wife and I immediately applied your tips and luckily we got a fast response. Our 16-year-old daughter reads like a case study for lack of confidence. She matches the profile your e-book describes: high technical ability and successful in soccer practice but looks like she forgets how to play in games!”
~Glenn G. New Jersey
“After listening to a couple of your podcasts and reading your “10 tips to confidence in youth sports,” most of the challenges you make note of apply to my 14-year-old son. He’s got all the physical ability, but the more mistakes he makes, the worse it seems to get. 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