Confidence. This is something that all participants in sport need whether they are children or adults, and can be the difference between success and failure. Funnily enough, too much or too little can be disastrous to performance so getting that balance right is critical.
It’s therefore important as a parent of a child involved in competitive or high level sport to try to help them be confident in themselves and in their ability. It’s also hugely important to be able to help them get through and manage times when there is a dip in self confidence, for whatever reason, and to develop effective coping strategies that work for your child.
If your child is suffering from low self confidence a good approach is to find out if anything is bothering them with regards to their sport or possibly from other external factors. It’s really important that they feel they’ve got someone to turn to who will listen to them and not judge them. Nine times out of ten it will be their parents that they want to talk to and get support from. When children are experiencing low self confidence it can show itself in many ways. A few of the ways I’ve seen it displayed in children include: a negative attitude about themselves including feelings of being rubbish and useless; being very down on themselves about even the slightest mistake; an unwillingness to want to take part in the sport; not enjoying their training sessions and I guess, at its worst, not wanting to compete or play in matches.
It’s important to reassure your child that it’s ok to make mistakes and have poor performances from time to time. They are only human. A good approach to take is to keep their lows high and their highs low – don’t fixate on a dip in performance or a plato in their ability level. You as a parent, are there to reassure them that they are great at what they do and that you believe in them. It’s important they know that you are there to support them through the good times as well as the bad.