10 Ways to Build Confidence in Sports

July 06, 2017

Confidence in youth sports has a great impact on how a child can be expected to perform later in their athletic careers so understanding what help to develop confidence and what holds them back during their sports experience is valuable information to both parents and coaches.
Factors include:
• Coaches
• Parents
• Teammates
Youth sports players will experience peaks and valleys in confidence as they develop their skills.
It's up to parents and coaches to keep these young athletes on the right track both mentally and physically.
Physically, one of the best ways to help youth sports players is making sure they have access to proper training aids such as knee braces, agility and strength training, and padded gear to perform at their best.
Then, when it's time to get on the field or court, here are 10 ways to keep them motivated to play at their highest level while building confidence.

1. Focus on Development, Not Victories

Coaches want to win and parents want to watch their athletes win. But, when coaches and parents overly stress winning, it stunts growth because these young athletes will eventually run into a player or team that is more advanced.
Instead, the focus should be on developing skills such as hitting consistently in baseball, passing the ball in soccer, and tackling with good form in football.
It's easy to focus on the outcome. However, the emphasis should be on developing proper game skills to build confidence in a given sport.

 2. Up talk instead of down talk

Parents and coaches should emphasize the positive aspects of their athlete's performance. Instead of focusing on two strikeouts, focus on the one hit.
Adults want to see their athletes improve, but if there is too much emphasis on what they did wrong, it could lead to athletes no longer enjoying their sport at a young age.
Instead, build confidence by focusing on the positive aspects until they are ready to handle constructive criticism.

 3. Be Present - Physically and Mentally!

One of the best ways a parent can build confidence in their athlete is attending games. Then, when you are at the game, be present mentally. That means not sitting on your phone with your head down not watching the game.
If your athlete looks into the stands, what do you want them to see - an engaged parent or a disengaged parent?
Your presence and what you do with your presence will make a lasting impact on your athlete's confidence.

 4. Do Extra Work Outside of Games

You've got to put in extra work if you want to compete on the next level. Some athletes may need extra one-on-one time with a professional to continue improving.
Some athletes need extra one-on-one time to continue improving.
Parents, take your athlete to the local gym to shoot the basketball, a batting cage for extra hitting, or the park to work on passing a soccer ball.
Coaches, be available for your athletes to discuss how they can improve. Taking the time to have these conversations will make a big difference in player growth.

 5. Record & Report Statistics

One simple way to build your players' confidence is recording stats. . It makes the athletes feel like big leaguers knowing someone is keeping track of their base hits, passes caught, and goals scored.
Coaches, designate a parent or another coach to keep track of stats so that you can report those stats to the team before the next game.
Parents, you might be called upon to keep track of stats. Understand how important this is to build up the confidence of your own athlete and other players.

 6. Host a Post-Game Event

The game is just one aspect of the event. The entire event includes putting on the equipment and uniform, being driven to the game, warming up, playing the actual game, and then what happens afterward.
Athletes want to be part of something special, so having a post-game event like a pizza party makes the game even more enjoyable. This helps build confidence by knowing there is a reward, win or lose.
However, if an athlete's entire experience hinges on winning a game, then it sets them up for disappointment, especially if the player is on a bad team.
Coaches and adults should schedule an event after the game to ensure that athletes have something to look forward to, no matter the outcome.

 7. Have Athletes Teach Their Teammates

One of the best ways for youth sports athletes to grow in confidence is teaching their teammates.
If you have a team of 11 and 12-year-olds, pair up the 12-year-olds with the 11-year-olds. The older athletes should then impart the instructions they receive from you down to their younger players.
By teaching younger athletes, the older players will gain valuable experience and confidence sharing what they have learned.

 8. Take Your Team to a Professional Game

The purpose of taking your athletes to a professional game is not to show them how far away they are from the pro level. Instead, the goal is to point out the various techniques and habits that professional players have developed.
For baseball players, you should point out how the shortstop prepares before every pitch is thrown. For soccer players, point out the various formations to help players understand alignment. For football players, point out tackling techniques.
A professional game can be used to aid player development, helping young athletes gain confidence by implementing techniques used by the pros.

 9. Use Advanced Technology for Player Development

Technology has advanced to where you can use a smartphone to record video in slow motion
Now, you can take video of your athlete's batting stance, running motion, or other sports element and slow down the footage to identify where an athlete can improve.
Instead of just talking about what the athlete needs to work on, you can show them. This helps build confidence by giving athletes footage that shows what they are doing right and can improve on.

 10. Have the Right Equipment!

We would argue that having the right equipment is the most important aspect of building confidence in youth sports players.
You've seen it before where players show up in old shoes and you just want to buy new equipment for these players.
Nowadays, equipment goes beyond clothes to training aids that improve safety and performance.
Consider what GoHard Sporting offers for agility and strength training. We also offer sport specific basketball padded gear, football padded gear, and soccer training aids.
Also, do you have an athlete with a history of injuries? Consider how our training aids, knee braces, and ice recovery impact gear can help your athlete remain confident.
All of these tools help youth sports players take the field with confidence. Parents and coaches also play an important role by keeping players motivated and engaged to overcome challenges in their given sports.

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