Help Young Athletes Build Trust and Confidence
Trust and confidence are very important for young athletes’ success in sports and are interrelated.
If athletes lack confidence, they don’t believe in their ability to perform under pressure. If they don’t trust their skills, they lack confidence heading into competitions.
Let’s take a look at confidence and trust, both mental game skills.
When your athletes feel confident, they believe they have the physical and mental traits needed to perform a skill. They believe they can develop skills through training and practice. And they have faith in their ability to perform a skill in competition, in spite of the pressure.
When athletes trust in their abilities, they know they have practiced enough–doing physical repetitions, for example–to just go for it and rely on muscle memory when they’re playing. Trust allows kids to simplify their game during competition. When they trust in themselves, they can be decisive and play athletically. They stay in the moment and don’t think about the outcome.
Confidence and trust influence each other. Kids build trust through repetition and practice. They build confidence by being prepared and recognizing their successes, improvements and positive qualities.
When athletes lack trust or confidence, they under-perform and are hesitant during competition.
Ben Simmons Has Confidence and Trust in His Shot
Here’s an example: Point guard Ben Simmons, a four-year veteran of the Philadelphia 76ers, is known for his aggressive defense and passing, but he’s also known for being hesitant about taking outside jump shots, especially from the three-point range.
In his first three seasons, Simmons only attempted three shots from the three-point line, going 1-for-3. In the first few games of the 2020-21 season, Simmons has attempted two three-pointers and made both.
Why has he improved? Simmons has been practicing and working on his three-point shot before games and in practices, developing both confidence and trust in his shot. It is clear that Simmons’ work has paid off.
Simmons described one of his three-pointers this season against the Orlando Magic. Simmons just released the ball with no conscious thought or worry about the outcome, he said.
“I came down [ the court]… Joel (Embiid) threw to me in the corner, and I let that go. Joel threw the pass, he knew I was gonna put it up. It was a shot that I work on, corner threes. I feel comfortable taking it so I knocked it down.”
Teammate Seth Curry said he’s confident in Simmons’ ability to make three-pointers.
“I’ve seen him make it in practice, and I know he can knock it down. Especially from the corner, so it’s just a matter of him doing it in a game and stepping into it with confidence. It didn’t look like there was too much hesitation on the shot, and I expected it to go in, to be honest.”
When, like Simmons, young athletes work on their physical skills, without self-judgment or harsh criticism, they build the needed trust and confidence to perform at their peak under the pressure of competition.
Parents Can Help Sports Kids Develop Trust and Confidence
Parents can help kids build trust and confidence by encouraging them to practice, prepare, test their skills and repeat the process.
To help build trust and confidence, young athletes should visualize themselves performing skills successfully in competition. When they visualize, they imprint those images in their mind, which helps them during competition.
Sports kids should mentally rehearse playing freely and athletically during their warm-up routines. Then they should get into the mindset that practice is behind them; it’s time to just compete.
Improving trust and confidence is critical to performance and success in sports. Parents should help kids understand these benefits, and help their kids work on building these all-important skills.
Help Your Young Athletes Overcome Self-Doubt In Sports!
The Confident Sports Kid helps young athletes improve confidence quickly and overcome common confidence killers that destroy motivation and fun in sports!
This is a 7-day program for sports parents and kids to boost young athletes’ performance, happiness and success… in sports and life!
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.
Read more about The Confident Sports Kid
What are parents and coaches saying?
“I just wanted to say thank you for your wonderful programs. My son Kai was one of the fastest 10 and under swimmers in Southern California and after he “aged up” to the 11-12 group he really lost confidence swimming against the much faster and bigger boys. He started with the Confident Sports Kids series and really enjoyed each and every lesson. He then started the Composed Kid series and built on the important building blocks that he was using from the first series. I so happy to report that Kai was able to swim to best times in each and every event he swam at the biggest and most important meet of the year in So Cal, the Club Championships. Each race he was more calm, composed, and relaxed. The final race was one that he was ranked last and one of his goals was to try for top 16…he was 49th! He cut over 4 seconds off his time ending up in 17th. He was ecstatic to say the least.”
“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
“I use your tips to help a sophomore high school student athlete. Last night, after I gave him some of your email tips – relax, get in the flow of the game, have fun, play by instinct, etc. – He busted loose for a career high 20 points and 15 rebounds!”
“I appreciate the advice to parents as to how to help your child become more mentally resilient to bullying in sports. The specific advice and scenarios are extremely helpful for any child on a team and very helpful in guiding parents, coaches and administrators in how to deal with bullying in sports. I cannot thank you enough for your input, and I am so reassured to know that there are people like you who are writing articles and doing interviews on such timely and important matters.”
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