Top 10 List for Developing Confidence While Challenging Athletes

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					Top 10 List for Developing Confidence While Challenging Athletes
It is much easier to build your athlete's confidence when they are performing well, but unfortunately it is not easy to obtain successful results in sports. As the coach, it is unrealistic for your players to expect you to be positive 7/24/365. This raises the question: How do you correct your athletes without them getting down on themselves? This article describes ten considerations when providing constructive feedback.

How do you correct your athletes without them getting down on themselves? This is the real trick of coaching - knowing how to preserve your athletes' confidence when you need to correct them. Here is a list of ten suggestions for challenging your athletes while still maintaining their confidence. 1. Set high expectations and make it a we achievement The best thing you can say to your athletes when they made a mistake is "I know your better than that." This simple phrase reinforces the belief that you have confidence in their ability and that you know they are capable of performing at much higher level than what they are currently showing. Then turn the challenge into a "we" achievement that lets the athlete know that together you will tackle the problem. Making it a "we" project shows your athletes that you are willing to partner with them to help them improve. 2. Realize mistakes are not intentional The vast majority of mistakes athletes make are not intentional. Athletes want to play well, not only for themselves, but also for their coaches and teammates. Realizing your players mistakes are not intentional can be challenging at times, but the best course of action initially is to support them and encourage them to correct it. 3. Allow athletes to play through mistakes Although it is not always possible, a great way to demonstrate your confidence in an athlete is to allow them to play through their mistakes. Give them a chance to correct themselves within the game situation rather than pulling them out and immediately offering your feedback. Allowing athletes to self correct and learn from mistakes provides them with an opportunity to develop resiliency. 4. Do not tolerate excuse making In order for an athlete to take responsibility for their success, they must also take responsibility for the shortcomings and own the corrective action. Taking responsibility for their success develop a player's confidence and builds self-esteem. Taking responsibility for their mistakes demonstrates a high level of maturity and, after correction, boosts a player's confidence. By encouraging players to accept responsibility, you are encouraging them to take ownership of their failures and success. The successes they own develops a deep foundational confidence level in their ability that they will need when the inevitable series of short falls comes along. 5. Keep it factual and focused on the solution Like the players, many times coaches can get caught up in the emotions of the moment. In these types of moments, the feedback is emotionally charged and can lead to statements the coaches wish they never said. Instead of focusing on the problem, help athletes focus on the solution. 6. Criticize the behavior, not the person When giving criticism, make sure the target of it is the athlete's behavior and not the actual athlete themselves. Criticizing the behavior allows a person to keep their confidence intact because their behavior can be changed and corrected. However, if you criticize them as a person, they cannot help but take it personally. 7. Surround the constructive feedback with positive reinforcements What happens when a player's coach always find fault in what they are doing before mentioning anything good? The player become defensive right away and tunes the coach out. By sandwiching the constructive feedback between positive statements, the player's defensives stay down and they are more objective in listening to the feedback.

8. Keep the feedback private Ever heard the phrase "Praise in public, criticize in private." When praising athletes in front of their peers, it does a lot to build their confidence. Conversely, when you criticize athletes in public, you embarrass them in front of their peers, which raise their defensive mechanism. An athlete’s pride in their performance is the one thing you will be relying on when the going gets tough. 9. Reinforce past successes and player strengths In addition to your praise, athletes can build their own confidence by focusing on their strengths and past achievements. One of the best things you can do is to remind them of how successful they are and provide concrete examples of this success. Refocus your athletes on their strengths. 10. Never give up When it comes to your players, you must adopt a never give up mind set. The last thing you would ever want them to do is to give up. If they ever sense you have given up on them, they will either give up on themselves or lose all respect for you and give up on you as a coach. A major factor in a player's confidence level comes from their belief that the coach has confidence in their athletic ability.
Youth-Athlete provides insights for parents, coaches, and young athletes around the world. Youth-Athlete

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By Brian Schreder Published: 6/4/2008

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