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September 05, 2017
How To Help Your Child Develop Confidence Playing Sports
It can be hard to let a child make a mistake, especially if you can help prevent it. But sometimes letting children make that mistake can be a great learning lesson.  When kids make mistakes, they can learn on their own how to fix the problem by trying a new technique or practicing more.  If kids do not make mistakes, they may never experience a valuable learning opportunity or build confidence in their skills.  
 
Constructive Criticism
 
Even when your child makes a mistake on the field or on the court, they may not understand what went wrong or even why it was wrong. This is where constructive criticism is key. Help your child understand what’s going wrong, but do it in a positive way. No one likes to be criticized, even a young child. Negative feedback can be particularly difficult for younger kids.
 
Provide constructive criticism to your child by using descriptive language that explains the mistake and offers suggestions for how to correct it. Recognizing your child’s effort helps frame the discussion in a more positive way. And remember... the number one goal of playing sports is to have fun!
 
Set Goals
 
One of the best ways to help a child develop confidence in sports is to encourage them to set goals.  If a child is struggling to make free throws in basketball, start small and work with them to set a goal to make two in a row.  When they achieve that, change the goal to five in a row. It might be hard for them at first because they won’t make two in a row right away, but using positive reinforcement will help bolster their confidence.  With a goal in mind, they will see their progress easier.   
 
Helping children build confidence in themselves at the early stages of learning a sport is crucial in their development.  When children have confidence in what they are doing, they are more willing to try new things, take more risks and grow as athletes and people.  No matter their skill level, building confidence can always be improved.  Support from parents and youth sports leaders is crucial for building confidence in children. 
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