GRUMPY PARENTS & COACHES?
6 Very Cool Tips to Build Her Sports Confidence!
Parents and coaches can often make or break a younger athlete's self-confidence. All kids seek to please their parents and mentors and, thus, seek approval for their performance. Criticism is the quickest way to damage self-confidence. Far too often parents and coaches expect too much from someone so young and inexperienced.
Once an athlete is allowed to blossom in the sport over time, often needing to take a step back before taking two steps forward, her confidence and game performance will soar. Unconditional support, not perpetual criticism is the answer to increased self-confidence.
Here are six tips to help boost her self-confidence when it comes to excessive expectations:
1. Stop obsessing with winning! Instead focus your energy on whether she enjoys the game, is giving maximum effort and is getting better on the field. Your athlete and her team are likely a long way from mastering the game so allow them the time ad space to do that.
2. Stop comparing her to your glory days or to another child. Your goal should be for her to be the best (insert her name here) she can be. Expecting her to be and play like an 18 year old (or someone she's not) when she's 12 is a recipe for disaster.
3. Communication. Don't assume she knows how you feel. Even with my own daughter as she got older she often "assumed" I didn't approve of her game performance as a result of all the criticism I heaped on her as a younger player. She never told me until recently and it brakes my heart than I didn't better communicate my pride and support of her as an athlete. Don't let that be you!
4. Frustration occurs for athlete, parent and coach when results fall short of expectations. Rather than focusing and yapping about the problem (results) only, work with her on finding a solution (the process) to her game inconsistencies. Maybe she needs help with her mental game or a new hitting coach, a few hundred more ground balls, or just for dad or mom to LIGHTEN UP?
5. She may well be making mistakes on the field because of the pressure she feels to please you and the fear of letting you down. And even though you may never say it she understands how much you are investing in her game and how the family may need an athletic scholarship for her to go to college; thus how important it is that she plays well.
This pressure will not improve her performance, so encourage her to chill and have fun. After all, Rome wasn't built in a day. Focus her on maximizing her effort and preparation and she'll get there!
6. The surest way to destroy confidence in a younger athlete is to give up on her as a parent or coach. I've seen parents and coaches literally walk away from their daughter or team after a poor play. That behavior is a dagger to the heart and spirit of any young athlete and will surely puncture any shred of sports confidence she or they have.
Hang in there (even if you have to bite your tongue) and let her know by your actions that you're backing her AND her team 110%. She will surely thank you for it and play much closer to her athletic potential with a smile on her face!
Thanks for reading! --John Michael Kelly
**Be sure to register for my upcoming free webinar: "The 4 Crucial Keys to Build Lasting Sports Confidence: How to Unleash the Awesomeness in Your Athlete or Team"