Developing Confidence in Young Athletes

Motivation, confidence, skill and talent are all interconnected, and are especially important at a young age. Children with low confidence tend to lack motivation. This lack of motivation leads to a reluctance to try and a lack of effort. Lack of focused effort leads to lower skill and low skill usually leads to a lack of confidence…the downward spiral (pictured here) has started. But let’s flip this around…

If we can connect with the child at a young age, and put them in an environment where failure is not feared, an environment that celebrates risk, encourages reaching and uses small stepping stones of skill mastery to build confidence, then we might be able to increase motivation. If we increase motivation, the child will be more willing to try new things, accept challenges and think outside the box.

This willingness to try goes hand in hand with increase effort, and if we fill our rosters and facilities with motivated, creative, willing children that give 100%, and then we focus our approach on attainable milestones, we will develop skill. We will develop creative, fearless skill. We will develop young people that don’t fear failure, but in fact embrace it as an opportunity to learn.

Today, try and connect on an emotional level with your players. And if you are working with players in the 6-10 year old age group, realize that they are motivated more by feelings. How you make them “feel” about themselves is directly proportionate to their motivation to try, their effort to develop skill, and ultimately their confidence. Are you doing everything you can to make an impact on their lives?


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