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Olympic athletes know that only split nanoseconds separate great athletes from making the Olympic team and eventually earning a medal. Studies of Olympians have shown that a competitor’s internal dialogue makes a huge difference in athletic performance. What does that mean? The way a young person thinks about confidence has often been linked to success.
Even if your child is not a future Olympic athlete, he or she can have magical sports dreams and high hopes of athletic achievement. Maybe your child dreams of hitting that home run, making a travel soccer team, or becoming Captain of a high school varsity team. Participating in sports, excelling in them, learning to be a team player as well as a leader are all worthy goals for young people.
How can you help you son or daughter reach a realistic athletic goal? Ask most Olympians, professional coaches and sports psychologists and they will probably say that athletic success is a mix of tremendous talent, lots of practice and solid self-esteem. All young athletes, whether they are recreational players, travel team players, varsity sport athletes or Olympic contenders have to master a confidence mindset to protect them when the chips are down.
A confidence mindset includes many emotional skills like dealing with criticism, focusing on one’s strengths, handling mistakes and perceived failure, managing imperfection and embarrassment, and setting realistic and accurate goals. Young athletes can learn these skills! Does it give them an edge in sports? Yes it does, because positive, encouraging thinking improves practice and performance. Confidence skills also help in other important areas of child development including academic performance and social situations.
Check out the Charge Up Your Confidence® Tool Kit for Kids.
And for more about athletic performance and confidence in children, here are some earlier posts:
Turn Sore Sports into Good Sports
March Isn’t Only About Basketball: It’s Time for Youth Sports
Athletic Confidence in Kids