Youth Sports Psychology Tips: How To Help Your Children Gain Self-Confidence
Many children struggle with a lack of confidence which prevents them reaching from their potential
In the last few months when carrying out parental support workshops, a number of parents have asked me the question what can I do to make my child feel confident when they play they’re sport.
The word make is highlighted for a reason here. As a parent you simply can’t make your child feel confident when they play their sport. They have to learn how to think confidently, as well as earning that confidence through consistent effort and positive results.
Whether you are a child or a professional athlete playing sport you are faced with quick decisions to make on the pitch, court or course and often under some pressure. This means athletes need to be educated on how they can help themselves feel more confident, so that they can trust their instincts in competitive situations.
Far too often, athletes young and old are overly reliant on their coaches. Children also can rely on their parents too much to try and feel confident.
How often do you see children looking to the sidelines for approval or some support or advice? It’s very common isn’t it…….. and isn’t a good thing.
Children really can learn and also need to rely on themselves if they’re going to be successful as they get older.
So how can children improve their own confidence?
1. Set Mini Goals
It’s common for children to worry about what other people think during training or when competing. This can go on to distract them and impact their enjoyment. So together setting a mini goal for the match or event around “trusting” themselves is a helpful tactic.
Trust is a big thing for children, as then can often also overthink technical elements to their sport when competing. They struggle to separate what they do in practise and still have the instructions of coaches and parents in their minds when they compete.
A mini goal, could also be “fun”. Some children who have perfectionist tendencies can fall into the trap of trying too hard. As a consequence they lose the fun element. Then when they make mistakes they over-react and get upset and often this results in them giving up for periods during the game. That’s where a mini goal for “effort” or “bouncing back” can be useful.
2. Make a Video
Today with video technology available on mobile phone’s, putting together a highlight reel is another great way for them to see themselves performing well. Watching this regularly can then help them visualise what they do at their best – unconsciously they then go on to believe in themselves more.
3. Design a Confidence CV
Helping children put together a “Confidence CV” is another useful strategy. The CV should be very much focused on their strengths on the pitch or court; tactical, technical, physical and psychological. As well as, their strengths away from their sport. Adding in their best achievements and moments that make them feel proud, again in and away from their sport can help them.
I’d be grateful if you could pass this article on if you feel it is helpful to other parents or coaches. Also, you would be helping me out hugely if you could let me know the challenges you and your children face around their sport.
You can also join our online community – THE SPORTS PSYCHOLOGY HUB – for regular Sports Psychology tips, podcasts, motivation and support.
Online Sports Psychologist who supports many youngsters around the world from the USA, United Kingdom, Ireland, United Arab Emirates, South Africa, Australian and New Zealand, using ONLINE Video Conferencing.
Managing Director – Inspiring Sporting Excellence, Host of Demystifying Mental Toughness Podcast and Founder of The Sports Psychology Hub. With over a decades’ experience supporting athletes, coaches, parents and teams to achieve their goals, faster.
T: +44 7734 697769