Ryan UPI Opening

Confidence In Sports and Life

There are so many important reasons for parents to put their kids in sports or a sports training program. But in today’s wild and crazy sports world many life lessons are getting passed by. Obviously there are all those surface level reasons like teamwork, attitude, physical fitness and leadership…

There are also so many other reasons that get passed over like a child’s mental health, learning different cultures and arguably the most important element is confidence!

Actually I can even make the argument that many coaches and sports programs are destroying kids’ confidence. Kids today are constantly trying to live up and please their coaches expectations. Which can be fine except that oftentimes there is no communication on what those expectations are…

Coaches want to win. Nowadays even high school coaches are paid and jobs are on the line to win games and championships. So as thousands of athletes come through their program some get ample playing time and others watch from the sidelines. That’s the nature of sports…

The problem lies when most times the only feedback to an athlete is “He/She is better than you” or “You’re not as good as Billy/Susie”…

Sports is something where your pursuit of success is constantly judged. Judged by coaches, parents and peers. I have been mentoring athletes for nearly a decade and have been around plenty of athletes that are not “starting” and when you ask why 99% of them typically have no idea…

It’s almost as if coaches give up on these kids and move along to the next one. Always looking for the next big talent to walk through the doors.

Confidence Versus Talent

So, I ask you. If you were a coach would you rather have a highly talented athlete with little confidence or an overly confident athlete with not as much skill set as the other kids? 

For me I want athletes to exude confidence! It is the critical element to becoming the person, athlete, parent, business owner or whoever you choose to be in your life!

Yet, everyday more and more young athletes walk through the doors in search of this thing we call confidence. Next, do we know how to coach it? I hear kids tell me coaches say things like “you just gotta go for it”…

Yeah that would be nice in theory. If it was that easy we probably would not be having this struggle in the first place…

Confidence Hurdles

There are a couple hurdles I believe will begin to put people on the path to confidence and living the life they desire. First, is the hurdle of pleasing people…

I have stated a thousand times before and will get very loud about the statement below…

There is no greater relationship than the one between you and YOU!

Yes, reread that again you are the most important person in your life. Own it! Write it on your mirror. Write it on a notecard and carry around with you everywhere. It’s ok to put yourself first…

Trust me I know this can be a huge hurdle to overcome because we have been taught for years or even decades the opposite. This obstacle will cause you to fear going after the goals and dreams you want in life. Because before you write down or even think about any goal you will find yourself asking questions like. What would my friends think of this goal? What would my coaches think? How about my parents think?

Then immediately you have found 25 reasons not to write that goal down. So you move along to the next thought of what would my parents want me to accomplish. Would my coaches think this is a reasonable goal?

I will give you a better way of understanding this. It’s kinda like when we were kids we all have either birthday or christmas wish lists. Things or experiences we want to happen on either of these celebrations…

Would you have written down what your parents wanted for their birthday? Heck no!

They wanted boring things like dish towels or maybe a new couch…

When you were a kid you wanted a new kickass toy or maybe to go to Disney World! 

You were not in the thought process of pleasing your parents or your friends on your birthday and kids should never be doing that whether it’s in sports, life or career!

Strat Taking Credit

Another one of our confidence killers is not taking credit for our accomplishments. Also as parents and coaches failure to properly acknowledge their accomplishments…

Kids already struggle giving themselves credit for their achievements. Then add to it when coaches start saying things like “finally” or “it’s about time”…

Most of them already believe that so much of what happens is because of luck. Or even worse they have formed this hardwired belief that they “did what they were supposed to do”…

I even hear this from coaches and parents. Young athletes achieve something whether it’s in school or in their sport and parents respond with a statement like that.

What a real confidence boost for them? Now you’re just training their minds that no matter what they do it will never be enough to live up to your expectations.

Instead we should be teaching them to celebrate EVERY accomplishment. My mentor has hardwired this into my mind that every accomplishment no matter the size is a celebration!! Yes, I do expect to be successful in everything I go after which means I should be having lots of celebrations and that’s what happens.

I see it all the time kids are making outstanding grades and parents say things like you did what was expected of you…

Maybe that has a little truth to it. That as parents you want to hold them to high standards but you should also encourage them to celebrate these wins! Otherwise doesn’t life just become dull and never enough…

It’s kinda like when your child learned to tie their shoes for the first time or ride a bike on their own. There was probably lots of screaming, joy and excitement. You should experience those same feelings and emotions everyday of your life!

Seriously, how much of a difference do you think it would have on your child’s life if they only went after their own goals, did things that pleased themselves first and took credit for all their achievements with massive celebrations?

What would that do to their self-esteem? How much confidence would that give them to go after something even bigger and more exciting?

You can see then why confidence is so important in sports and life! Without it we tend to feel like we are just spinning our wheels. Trying hard to live life with any type of joy and excitement!

Empowering Confidence

One of the most empowering things I learned from author Carol Dweck is the idea of encouraging kids to take credit on their own. And as she puts it, it’s all in the wording we use as influencers. 

She discusses the idea about how when a child accomplishes something instead of saying “I am so proud of you”. Rather say “You should be proud of yourself”…

This gives the child ownership of what they accomplished. Very subtle difference, as she points out the first statement can form a belief in the child that they did it for you. They did it to make you proud as a parent.

The second statement tends to form the belief that they did it for themselves!

We are living during a time when people pleasing and comparing themselves to the rest of the world seems normal. That is not how or why we were created to live.

We were created to live the lives WE personally want to live. You are your own creator. You are the creator of your reality. This is why confidence and the ability to love yourself is critical. The ability to see yourself as lovable or knowing without a shadow of a doubt you are truly valuable and worthy is so important.

Take credit for all the wonderful experiences you have. Create even more magical experiences and shout them from the rooftop! Go out and celebrate how wonderful you are!

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