Identifying Focus Issues in Young Athletes

How Low Self-Confidence Hurts Sports Kids

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.

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