How Low Self-Confidence Hurts Sports Kids
A sports parent writes:
“My child gets fouled a lot, when the referee fails to make a call, or when it builds through a game, he sometimes loses control. This is usually anger boiling over. Also, when an opposing player talks to him (taunts) he can’t ignore it or recognize that he is winning and just let it go. He gets angry and responds. He definitely does not have a confidence problem and is borderline arrogant It looks to me like he is responding to someone ‘wronging him or a perceived wrong.'”
Sometimes a confident athlete can have very specific challenges that need to be addressed. It is important to take time to learn about these areas that may be limiting your sports children’s performance.
Here, it seems that the parent has identified the issue, which is the most important step.
This sports child feels wronged, and when he feels this way in a game, he loses mental focus and performs beneath his abilities.
This is a focusing issue.
Mark Cuban, billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks, sums it up when talking about sports, business, and life in general…
“What I’ve learned after all these years is you just have got to stay focused and believe in yourself, you need to trust your own ability and your own judgment.”
No matter what the challenge, losing focus on the goal at hand will negatively affect kids’ performance.
To identify focus issues, talk to your sports kids.
Do they have any outside or internal distractions that may be limiting their performance?
In this case, it sounds like the young athlete has a high expectation of “fairness,” a common issue in sports.
He feels he is not being treated fairly by the referees. This opinion or expectation is distracting him from what he does best: perform!
Sports parents should help kids identify such expectations and discuss what happens when they let perceived fairness steal their focus. Show kids that this perception and their reaction to it are only hurting their games.
Help kids deal with strict expectations by suggesting that they replace them with more realistic mini-goals, such as focusing on playing well on defense.
You can also suggest they get in the habit of using the Three Rs of Refocusing:
Recognizing distractions, Regrouping, then Refocusing on the task at hand.
Have them practice this and try to do it as quickly as possible.
Help Your Young Athletes Boost Their Concentration In Sports!
We’ve got a great program for you called “The Focused Sports Kid: A 7-Day Plan for Boosting Concentration and Success.”
Help your young athletes cope with distractions in sports and ensure they focus on what will help them feel focused, successful, and ‘in the zone’.
With The Focused Sports Kid program, you can discover the secrets to helping young athletes improve focus and concentration.
The Focused Sports Kid program is actually two programs: one program includes a workbook and CD for young athletes, recommended ages 8-12, which walks them through seven simple lessons in mental focus in sports and the other program includes a manual and CD for parents/coaches that provides mental game tips especially designed for them…
In addition to learning how to identify their distractions and deal with them, young athletes learn about how and why to focus on sports-specific “performance cues” that will help them feel more confident and excel in sports. Parents/coaches also learn about these all-important performance cues and why they should help kids focus on them.
What are parents and coaches saying?
“We just completed the first ten tips, it has helped tremendously for (our daughter) and us. We’ve learned to keep our behavior and comments in check. She’s letting mistakes happen and not worrying about them, she’s now just moves on to the next play with the same attitude as before the mistakes. She’s playing more aggressively all game. Her coach even mentioned that whatever we are doing, keep doing because it’s working.”
~Scott, Sports Dad
“The resources that you have available on your website have been wonderful. I am slowly learning [and hopefully] in time that a sound mental game may be more important then the actual physical part of the sport that your child plays. Yes you have to have the talent but the mental game is what sets apart as a very good athlete compared to an elite athlete. As a parent, you need to find the time to teach yourself and help your child understand the Psychology of sport. All the hard work on the ice/field could eventually pay off and not just in sport but in every day life. Thanks again.”
~Darren, Sports Dad
“I read your report and prepared a one-page summary for my team. I asked the team to attend a 10am training session on Saturday before the final on Sunday. (I told parents) they must obtain the one-page summary handout from me and ask a parent to read it to them until they understood what it meant…My boys succeeded! We beat a team that no one could beat during the year, that was coached by a former professional player that had sons of former Professional players in the team and as a result of believing in themselves, they won. In my humble opinion , I look beyond the game and hope the kids have learned a lesson in life that you really can do almost anything if you put your mind to it. We salute you and the wonderful work you do.”
~Anthony (Tony) Costa, coach