Confidence-Building Hacks For Kids In Sports, part 1

There is all sorts of controversy about kids sports these days. Should we give them all trophies? Should we push them hard so they learn about how the “real” world works? Parents and coaches are often confused by conflicting advice. The video below is part of a 3-part series to help you assist kids playing sports to discover their self efficacy while creating lifetime belief programs that carry through to adulthood. This is the real benefit for kids sports participation and it’s well within your reach.

Whatever side you are on with regards to how much to push or not, these 5 tips work for everyone. Here’s part 1:


5 Hacks To Build Unstoppable Confidence In Youth Athletes

Hack #1

Parents & Coaches:  this one tip you’re about to hear, can single-handedly Transform your kid from nervous/timid to consistent confidence in competition. I’ll show you proof and tell you the tip in a moment, and To get all 5 confidence tips click the link below and sign into my list for the full series…

You are going to learn the secret thoughts of young athletes that they don’t tell their parents, from my experience in working with hundreds of them one-on-one world wide.Here is tip 1

Strategy #1. Organize everything you do for your kid around skill acquisition and effort.

Every coach knows that athletes perform better when they improve their skills and so they set up regular practices with drills, exercises, and scrimmages to improve the skills. But, the most common problem adults report to me with their young athlete is that they don’t perform as well in the game as they do in practice. They lose their confidence in the games. Why is that?

Well, it’s simply because in practice, coaches and parents are praising things like hustle, determination, discipline, and anything they see in the athlete that shows an improvement in their physical skills.   All good stuff. But then what happens in competition? The coaches and parents then ONLY praise good performances and minimize the skills and effort.

And so the kid focuses on having a good performance because that’s what the adults are focused on… instead of just executing the skills and showing hustle like he/she does in practice.

What this does is it This causes the kid to then worry about and fear a poor performance.  This causes nervousness, tension, tightness, timid play and other problems which make it harder to execute the skills and be focused on what they are doing.

Here’s an example of what to do:
Joanie is a 13-year-old soccer player but this story applies to any sport. With her parents in the stands and her whole team watching and holding their breath, at the end of a game, she misses a final penalty kick to the goal that would have tied the game and instead, they lose.  She looks around at her teammates and coach and they all have their heads down and the disappointment is everywhere.

She walks off the field in tears and approaches her parents who are both beaming with smiles and give her the biggest hug that a proud parent could give.  Confused, she asks, “Why are you both smiling and so happy, we lost and it was my fault?”  Her Dad tells her:  We are so proud of you beyond words because of the courage you showed by volunteering to be the last kicker on the team.  This game means nothing. The Fearlessness we saw in you when you went up there for that kick was the most proud I have ever felt in my life about anything.  You were absolutely awesome out there.  Everyone will forget about this game in a short time, but I want you to remember forever that you have this huge courage inside you and it will take you far in soccer and life.  You’ve use it here and you will use this courage again and again…we are so proud of you for that.

Do you see the power in this for confidence building? We have a special program designed to help you or your athlete build confidence in their sport. These are cutting edge techniques and guides that aren’t being taught anywhere else, developed by The Mental Toughness expert himself Craig Sigl. Confidence is a scientifically proven mental skill that is highly valued in athletic competition. Learn how to overcome confidence killers and keep your head in the game.

I Want To Improve My Confidence

21 thoughts on “Confidence-Building Hacks For Kids In Sports, part 1

  1. Art Watson

    Had 9 yr old kid get hit by pitch early in season. Had to work just to get him in the batters box. He earned praise when he stayed in the box without backing out even if he just watched pitches. He got a stinging base hit last game. Not sure I’ve ever been prouder of a kid. Theory absolutely works.

  2. Eric

    This rings true today for me. My 9-year-old son made several stunning plays at SS in today’s baseball game, but was so worried about making a mistake. With multiple throwing options (because of runners on base), he made the incorrect throw and was chastised for it by his coach. He’s really talented… but is paralyzed by fear of making mistakes.

    1. Craig Sigl

      You nailed it Eric when you mentioned “fear of mistakes.” Fear is at the core of most kids problems. Ask him what he is afraid of and take it apart and reinforce. Fears go away with these 2 steps: 1. Make the unknown known. 2. Go to the worst case scenario in mind and see that in the end, you will be ok. Focus on the ok.

  3. Amanda Kuhlman

    Dealing with low confidence in my son who is in his second year of khory league baseball. He came off the field last night after striking out and was crying. He felt terrible and I didn’t know how to help. I’ll be following this tip. Thank you!

    1. Craig Sigl

      Thanks for commenting Amanda. It’s been my experience that the kids get the belief that winning/performance is the #1 thing from society, parents, and pretty much everything around them. Some kids take it deeply to heart. It can be undone.

  4. Tami

    I have a 9 yr old that can be completely shut down by fear. I’ve tried working with her on this and telling her I don’t expect her to be perfect, I just want her to give 100% effort and keep trying even if she makes a mistake. Many times she has shut down in the middle of practice/game sobbing iver the fact that she’s no good. The other night during her softball game she had one of these meltdowns and refused to go back in the game. We told her it was ok to make mistakes and evens pros do it. After several minutes she pulled out of her funk and jumped back in the game. I hope she is starting to understand it’s not about being perfect, but I know this fear is very difficult for her as it has stopped her from even trying new things because she thinks she is no good.

    1. Craig Sigl

      Tami, sounds like you are giving the right message. Unfortunately, for every time you give the right message about what sports participation is about, our culture gives her 10 messages to the contrary. You are going to have to be very consistent and repeating for the correct message to win in her psyche. Keep it up!!

  5. Amy Davidson

    My 9 year old son is an awesome baseball player, he was recently invited to play with a travel team but after practicing with them one of the coaches decided he didn’t hit well enough. We practice and practice and he can hit balls with an electric pitching machine, he can hit them when his dad and I pitch to him and even when his coach pitches to him, but when he gets to the plate during a game I feel like he freezes? I don’t know if he is scared of striking out or what? he says it wasn’t the right pitch but they were obviously balls that could’ve been hit. He is a 2nd base and pitcher but now that he is not hitting the coach has benched him? In rec ball? He is devastated and I don’t know how to get him through this?

  6. Thankfullife

    Spot on!! I like that the application of this lesson can be used not only sports – powerful!

    Thank you!!!

  7. Leesa

    Hi Craig

    Just wondering if you can offer any advise for our 10 year old son. He is currently playing Under 11 Australian Rules football and has made the Div 1 squad. He has all the skills required and his coach has even told me that he is one of the top ten players with his ability to pick up the ball first time, kick to a target, his speed and agility and his vision to get the ball to other players in a better position to kick a goal however he is very small compared to the other boys and lacks complete confidence that he is good enough to be in this squad. We don’t know what else we can do to boost his confidence. We thought that by making the squad he would finally realize that he is good enough and deserves to be there. We praise him up with everything he does correctly. And sometime even the things he doesn’t do so well at.

    He also plays Baseball in the Summer and is an amazing pitcher. We wish he could bring the confidence he has with his pitching onto the football field but just don’t know how to do this. He is equally as good at both sports but doesn’t have the same belief in his football abilities as he does with baseball.

    Do you have any suggestions?

  8. samuel

    My 12 year old is a very skilled soccer player- been playing for 5 years competitively and practices 5-7 times a week, 1 game per week generally unless tournaments. He is lacking confidence so much. Plays great during practice, but chokes on games. Starting to hate the sport he loved. He hears only negative comments from others, and has a lot of negative self talk. He is not the best player in his division, but can hold his own when he’s at peak.
    Any tips or suggestions?


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