The Mental Edge 5 May 2023

05 May 2023

Mental Edge Newsletter

Helping You Gain A Mental Edge

5 Tips to Help Children Enjoy Their Sport More and Reach Their Potential

Helping children enjoy their sport more and giving themselves the best chance of reaching their potential.

When working with kids I notice that the following three challenges are something that I come across virtually every single day (the same is true of many adults too!):

  1. Coping with not being perfect.
  2. Social approval and worrying too much about other people’s thoughts and behaviours.
  3. Defining themself based on their performance levels, therefore impacting their mood and self-worth.

When it comes down to being perfect. The kid perfectionistic has unrealistic demands about their performance that often lead to confidence levels soaring and plummeting depending on their form and immediate performance.  A lack of trust and a higher level of anxiety can also be a result of perfectionist tendencies. 

The kid who is eager to please and wants social approval from others often falls into the trap of wanting to be:

  • Admired
  • Accepted
  • Respected
  • Liked
  • Revered

By parents, coaches, scouts, friends, team-mates or even opponents.  They spend a lot of time people pleasing and worrying about performing poorly because of the influence people have on them.  Essentially, they let their ego get in the way and it becomes a huge distraction, especially when their emotions are heightened.

Lastly, when kids define themselves as a person based on their sporting performance it often adds a great deal of stress and pressure on and off the pitch, court or course.  They’ll let how well they play, impact on their mood and in some cases can feel down for a number of days.  This then impacts on their feelings of “can do”, their motivation to practice or train and potential procrastination can kick in.

So how do we help kids who suffer from these challenges? Check out the following tips:

Tip 1:

You could tune into today’s episode of Demystifying Mental Toughness, where guest, trainer, coach and author Andrew Simpson and I chat about the youth sport experience for kids, parents and coaches.  We discuss pressures on kids, coaching and parental pressures and stressors.  We also look at parents who also coach and the difficulties involved in that role, in particular.  Common mindset traps kids fall into are also part of the conversation including the perfectionist kid who has high and unrealistic expectations of themselves and others, social comparisons and kids who carry their sporting identity so that it impacts their self-esteem.  Parents, and coaches in youth sport and teachers may find this episode helpful.

Tip 2

You could also tune into this week’s episode of the Tom Talks Junior Cricket Coaching Podcast where Tom Jones interviewed me on his popular podcast about supporting young cricketers, the psychological challenges that they face and as a Sports Psychologist how I help them.

Tip 3

We offer a range of blogs for parents and coaches in youth sport – feel free to check out some of them, which include:

Blog: Helping a Critical Child When You’re a Parent

Blog: How to Help Children Overcome Fear of Failure

Blog: How to Support an Angry Young Athlete

Blog: How to Help Kids Overcome Performance Anxiety

Blog: 9 Tips for Children from Olympians

Tip 4

Alternatively, you may find our specially created page in our library of Sports Psychology resources helpful, it includes other blogs, podcasts and video’s.

Tip 5

Our posts on Instagram this week have maintained this focus on the youth sport experience and have received a lot of support, why not check them out!




David Charlton Sports Psychologist

Best Wishes 

David Charlton

Online Sports Psychologist | Mental Performance Coach who supports many highly motivated athletes, young and old, developing their skills or who are already highly skilled so that they gain a mental edge and get the most from their talent across the globe from USA/Canada to Great Britain and Ireland to UAE, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, using ONLINE Video Conferencing.    

Managing Director – Inspiring Sporting Excellence

Host of Demystifying Mental Toughness Podcast

Founder of The Sports Psychology Hub 

Author of The Mental Edge

With over a decades’ experience supporting athletes, coaches, parents and teams to transfer their skills from training to competitive situations, under pressure.

T: +44 7734 697769

E: [email protected]

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