September 20, 2013

8 Tips for Parents To Help Their Athletes Perform with Confidence

Here are some tips from  Lisa Cohn and Patrick Cohn, Ph.D who run a website dedicated to helping athletes, coaches, sports parents, and mental coaches understand and learn practical sports psychology strategies.

1. Self-motivation is the best type of motivation.
Motivation must be cultivated from the love of sports and competition - from within the athlete himself. You want them to practice and compete for themselves and not because they want to do it for you or to please a parent.

2. Your agenda may not be your athlete's agenda.
Athletes play sports for many reasons. Maybe they love the competition, the social aspect, being part of a group, or the challenge of competition. Your agenda for your athlete's participation might interfere with his/her motivation to compete. 

3. Help your athlete focus on the process.
Of course everyone wants to win, but teaching your athlete to focus on the process, the here and now, and focusing on one play at a time will help them play in the moment and with confidence.

4. Model composure and poise during competition.
If you become tight, serious, angry, or frustrated, so will your athlete. For athletes to perform well, the goal is to be loose, carefree, but at the same time focused on performing. Model composure by staying relaxed and positive. 
6. Always give positive feedback after competition.
It's easy to jump in and give your athlete advice on what not to do in the next competition or how to do better, but you should first give positive encouragement and pick out one or two skills your son/daughter did well.

7. Resist coaching during competition.
Practice and training are over. During competition, it's time to let them play. Too much coaching on technique or what you think your player should be doing can lead to a controlled or cautious performance.

8. Fuel their confidence.
Real confidence is stable and enduring. Help your athlete grow confidence by focusing them on what they did well after each game. Encourage them to improve upon instead of dwell on mistakes, and help them to think positively when they have doubts.

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