“You have to believe in yourself when no one else does — that makes you a winner right there.”
To build confidence in young athletes requires some planning. Just think of yourself.
There are days when you feel good about yourself and there are days when you don’t. What’s important is that you learn to push and perform in those days when things might not be going our way. Pushing yourself to slog through a hard time requires motivation, and motivation come from self-confidence.
Self-confidence is the secret ingredient that all successful athletes seem to possess regardless of what level they compete.
There is absolutely no doubt about the fact that self-confidence plays a key role in how well you perform. When you are confident about your capabilities it becomes easy to perform to your full physical potential. The same potential of performance can dwindle significantly if your self-confidence level is low.
Fortunately, self-confidence is a characteristic attribute which can be learnt over time. Unfortunately, this quality is not easy to achieve. There is a constant struggle in all of us where one part of us is eager to succeed and the other part is happy and complacent within its comfort zone.
Like any other parent if you want your kids to excel in education as well as in sports it is important to instill confidence in them. There is absolutely no doubt that self-confidence is the pillar on which the success of an athlete’s career is based.
7 Ways to Build Confidence in Young Athletes
While some people seem to be born with more than their fair share of self confidence, it can also be an acquired quality. Parents and coaches can help. Here are some suggestions when coaching and parenting kids.
1) Be Patient
The first step of building confidence in a child is to teach them the quality of patience. It is not uncommon for young athletes to feel devastated when the picture which they have painted in their mind fails to conform with reality. As a coach or as a parent it is your duty to make them understand that there are no failures. There is only another opportunity to attend a high degree of personal excellence. This realisation gives them a positive attitude towards life making them one of the toughest competitors on the field.
2) Break the Cycle of Doubt
There are times when even the best of the best athletes suffer from self-doubt and that is not at all uncommon. However, it becomes dangerous when an athlete lets the cycle of doubt take permanent roots in his psyche. Doubtful thoughts can create a sense of anger, frustration, anxiousness and disappointment and as a result, it is common for young athletes to give up all hope which he once had.
As a coach or as a parent you can break the cycle of self-doubt by encouraging your kid or students to argue with his pessimism. Ask him questions that would make him seek evidence for his belief. When you teach them how to undermine confidence in competition, you take them one step closer to developing stable self-confidence
3) Reinforce Performance Accomplishment
When a young athlete performs well in any competition it is one of the most powerful factors which impact his self-confidence. On the other end, confidence can drop substantially when athletes fail to perform. A good way to boost self-confidence is to help athletes remember past successes in practice and competition. In order to boost their self-confidence, you can highlight either a big accomplishment or a small one. The idea of reinforcing past accomplishment is to help athletes relive those moments of glory so that they can achieve a confidence boost. Studies have shown that confidence does matter.
4) Focus On Their Talents
It is good to have a hero or an idol in life who can be their inspiration. However, when they put someone on a pedestal thinking that they are better than them, the chances of feeling less confident gets multiplied. As a coach, it is your duty to remind your student of their own talents and strength as an athlete.
5) Recognize Efforts Not Just Performance
Like every single drop in the ocean which contributes towards vastness, every single participation in a sporting event helps to make an athlete feel more confident about his capabilities. It is a general tendency among people to look down upon participation trophies. Everyone wants to secure a place on the victory stand. However, as a coach, it is your duty to keep the kids engaged in sports respective of how many trophies they manage to win. Recognizing every small win is important in shipping the self-confidence of a child. Even a participation certificate in a sport like soccer or softball might sow the seed of a future Christiano Ronaldo or Jenny Finch in the mind of your kid.
6) Encourage Sports And Other Physical Activities
Sports are no longer considered as the sole domain of boys. Participating in sports and physical activity teaches a child to improve their sense of independence. Physical activity helps her child to recognize their strength and accept their weakness. They learn the value of teamwork and the art of handling defeat through the medium of sports. A physically active body automatically keeps the brain healthy and well organized. Expanding the horizon of experience and making new friends can help a kid to build self-confidence.
7) Give Praise When Deserved
The psyche of a child is very fragile and here she is prone to determine their self-worth by the opinion of their parents and coaches. It is therefore important to give your child a positive feedback without hurting his sense of self-worth. If a child fails to perform well in a particular event you can always pay his effort but don’t unrealistically praise the results. As a coach or as a parent help them to set realistic goals and teach them that sometimes it takes repeated effort and practice to achieve a level of perfection.
Finally as a coach or a parent you should never burden your child or student with the burden of expectation. Just allow them the space to enjoy the game and develop a love for sports.