Young athletes Commonly Struggle with Comparison
“My son is very tentative when playing basketball. He always has his eye on what others are doing—his teammates and his opponents. How can we help him play with more confidence?”
This young athlete likely struggles with a common mental-game challenge:
He compares himself to teammates and competitors.
It’s pretty natural for sports kids to compare their performance to others, but it becomes a problem when these comparisons hurt kids’ confidence and performance…
When kids compare themselves to others, they can feel jealous of their teammates and competitors. This can cause friction in a team and also distract your sports kids, who will focus more on how much praise another player got, instead of on their own performance.
In addition, when sports kids focus on others’ strengths, they’re not focusing on their own. The can lead to a drop in confidence. Concentrating on others’ strengths will make your young athletes put others on a pedestal, and feel small in comparison.
It makes it hard for athletes to focus on their performance, stay in the moment, and play freely and intuitively.
If your athletes are comparing themselves to others, first find out if your children are feeling intimidated by other potentially higher-skilled athletes. Talk to them about how kids might mature at different times.
While they’re thinking about others’ strengths, they’re also thinking about their own weaknesses, in comparison.
In order to be confident athletes, they shouldn’t dwell on others’ success or abilities…
It’s often easy as parents to compare your athletes to other athletes in the hopes that it motivates them to improve or strive to be better, but comparing them to other stronger athletes can backfire!
Instead, you want your athletes to focus on their own unique talents and abilities. What are their best moments as athletes? Remind them of their unique talents just before games.
The goal is to help your kids become confident players who recognize good players and are excited to test their own skill against them without fear.
In essence, encourage your kids to put their focus where it should be: on themselves and their game!
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- Communicate with coaches
- Boost their kids’ confidence on game day
- Help kids stop worrying about what others’ think
- Teach kids no one is perfect
- Give kids appropriate feedback after defeat
- Free kids to trust in their own abilities, and
- Help kids focus on what’s most important….And more!