It’s important for kids to separate their self-worth from their performance and it’s critical for parents to remind kids that their self-image should not be tied to how well they perform.
When your sports kids’ whole self-image is tied to athletic performance, they often deal with substantial psychological consequences and lowered confidence if they under perform, burnout, or get injured, he says.
“Whenever people ask me how to talk to kids about this, the answer is always, ‘It depends on how old they are,’” says Worthy. “But in general, you want to praise them for other things, other activities and achievements in their life.”
Injuries and lack of rest are among the many confidence killers in youth sports, says Dr. Shawn Worthy, Metropolitan State University of Denver professor and clinical psychologist who specializes in sports and adolescent psychology.
In part because kids do develop over-use injuries, Worthy doesn’t think kids should play or perform year-round.
“Young people need an off period, a month or two months preferably, where the kid doesn’t need to play a sport.”
You can listen to Worthy’s interview here: