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Coaching Athletes to Build Confidence

It is not easy to obtain successful results in sports, there are going to be times when you need to correct them. Successful coaches know how to preserve your athletes' confidence when you need to correct them. This article describes ten way to maintaining your player's confidence when you need to provide corrective feedback.

How do you correct your athletes without them getting down on themselves? This is the real intent of coaching - knowing how to preserve your athletes' self confidence when you need to offer game performance feedback to them. Here is a list of ten methods for challenging your athletes while still maintaining their self confidence.

1) Set high objectives 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 faith in their talent 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" goal that lets the athlete know that together you will attack the problem. Making it a "we" project shows your athletes that you are willing to partner with them to help them get better.

2) Understand mistakes are not deliberate

The errors players make are not deliberate. Athletes want to play well, not only for themselves, but also for their coaches and teammates. Being aware your players errors are not deliberate can be challenging at times, but initially the best course of action is to encourage and support them to correct it.

3) Allow athletes to play through mistakes

Although it is not always possible, a demonstrate your confidence in an athlete is to allow them to play through their errors. Give them a opportunity 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 chance to develop resiliency.

4) Excuse making should not be tolerated

In order for an athlete to take ownership for their success and failure, they must also take responsibility for the mistakes and own the corrective process. Taking responsibility for their success and failure develops a player's confidence and builds self-esteem. Taking ownership for their mistakes demonstrates a high level of maturity and, after correction, boosts a player's confidence. 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 your feedback fact based and targetted on the solution

Many times coaches get overwhelmed by the emotions of the moment. At times like these, 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) Focus the criticism on the behavior, not the individual

When giving criticism, make sure the target of it is the athlete's behavior and not the athlete themselves. Criticizing the behavior allows a person to keep their confidence intact because their behavior can be changed and corrected. If you focus on the person themself, they take it personally and feel humilated.

7) Sandwich the constructive feedback with positive statements

A player will become defensive and tune out the feedback if the coach is always finding fault in them. By sandwiching the constructive feedback between positive statements, the the player is more willing to listen and take corrective action.

8) Keep the feedback private

Praising the athlete publically and offering construstive criticism in private, it does a lot to build their confidence. On the other hand, when you criticize athletes in public, you embarrass them in front of their peers that raises 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 strengths

Athletes can build their own confidence by focusing on their strengths and past accomplishments. One of the best things a coach can do is to remind them of how successful they are and provide detailed examples of this success. Refocus your athletes on their strengths.

10) Always provide hope

A coach must adopt a mind set of hope. The last thing you would ever want them to do is to give up. If a player ever senses you have given up on themFeature Articles, 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.

Article Tags: Player's Confidence

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Youth-Athlete provides resources for parents, coaches, and young athletes including suggestions and tips for coaches that enable a successful season and a community for open questions.

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