Sports Commission

I hear stories all the time from frustrated parents about their kids in sports wanting to drop out. If you want to make sure your kids are getting the best experience possible from their sports program be sure to read on…

Has this been a problem for you? If so, we would love to hear what happened with your kid in the comments section below.

Listen here:National Youth Sports

35 million kids play organized sports every year and 92% of parents of youth athletes felt youth sports programs were important to the overall development of their children, according to a survey by the National PTA.So it may surprise you, that according to a national survey from the Minnesota Amateur Sports Commission, 45.3% of those kids have been yelled at, called names or been insulted by coaches. 21% report they have been pressured to play with an injury.Abuse from the coaches is bad enough, but youth sports is also filled with overbearing parents putting pressure on their kids to perform up to their high standards and expectations. You can imagine the car ride home from a game, when their athletes fall short. Parents’ disapproval and disappointment can do even more damage to a kid’s confidence and well-being than a coach or teammate can.Those numbers don’t even take into account the bullying that goes on as well in sports. According to the National Education Association (NEA), 71% of kids say bullying in sport is a problem for them.What can we do?

In a nation-wide survey, over 20,000 kids were asked why they participate in sports. The number one reason: “To have fun.”

So why are some talented kids quitting?

According to the NYS Youth Sports Programs Institute at Michigan State, in a survey of 10,000 kids nation-wide, these are some of the top reasons why kids quit organized youth sports:

  1. They were not having fun
  2. It required too much time
  3. The coach played favorites
  4. The coach was a poor teacher
  5. There was too much pressure
  6. Too much emphasis on winning
  7. They wanted to participate in other non-sport activities
  8. They needed more time to study

So if a young child is feeling bad about himself or crying in his room after a game, does it sound like a good idea to yell or tell them what they did wrong? Not, if your goal is for your kids to have fun and their personal development. Clearly, some national youth sports programs are not serving our kids or building confidence, which is one of the primary reasons parents have their kids play sports.

The Mental Toughness Academy has embarked on an important mission to teach the only real protection from negativity and abuse – building a child’s SELF CONFIDENCE. If your child has confidence, they will be able to hear criticism with perspective, so they don’t get hurt and they bounce back easily from mistakes and setbacks.

Our goal is to help kids in sports feel confident, so they can receive the tremendous benefits that playing sports offers. Also so they will be protected from the hurts and destructive comments that can come from abusive coaches, parents and even teammates.

How can kids in sports develop that confidence?

There are several ways parents can help their children by giving them unconditional encouragement and a bigger perspective on playing their sport.

There are many excellent national programs for coaches and parents to learn how to positively influence their kid’s sports participation. Here’s a few for starters:

While these resources are helpful, parents can’t count on their child’s coach to have taken or “buy into” any of these trainings.

Parents’ helping their child build up their self-confidence is really the best assurance they can have, that they will be able to overcome adversity and be successful in their sport and in their life.

To start, parents need to create a safe place for their kids to air their fears and insecurities. Mental Toughness Academy put out an e-book called The 10 Commandments For Being A Great Sports Parent to advise parents on establishing positive open communications and creating safe environments for kids to share their feelings.

In order for parents to understand their child’s insecurities, they need to remember that the number one priority for a teen or pre-teen is to fit in. If parents notice their child is being less social, they need to find out why. If they hear “excuses” for not going to practice, then it’s time to have a heart to heart talk with them to get to the bottom of it.

Most importantly, parents should give youth athletes constant assurances that their acceptance and approval is NOT dependent on how they perform EVER. This will build a strong foundation of self-confidence and trust in young athletes.

Many coaches and parents give children impossible messages about success. They share the belief that confidence comes from having success, but that simply is not true.

We develop confidence from just trying and working hard at something. Think of a new baby learning to walk or feed itself. It has not been successful – it just tries and then experiences success that builds confidence. It is critical that you emphasize this to your kids.

During the summer of 2003, a survey of 400 parents by the National PTA found that 64% of parents report their children as being dissatisfied with their youth sports experience. The support of parents to help their kids in sports build confidence is all the more necessary if they want the sport they are playing to positively impact them in healthy ways.

The Mental Toughness Academy national youth sports program is committed to teaching kids the learnable skills of confidence, focus, determination and resilience so they can learn from and totally enjoy playing their sport.

Sports CommissionWelcome to the Winner’s Circle!
Craig Sigl, the Mental Toughness Trainer