Cultivating Soccer Confidence: Focusing on Controllable Actions for Youth Players
As parents of youth soccer players, we all want our children to succeed on the field, gain more playing time, make an impact, and achieve their goals. Often, we tend to focus solely on the outcomes such as scoring goals or receiving praise, neglecting the controllable actions that foster confidence.
This blog aims to shift our perspective and explore practical strategies to cultivating soccer confidence. By emphasizing controllable actions, we can empower our children to trust themselves and unlock their full potential.
1. Creating a Confident Vibration with Strategic Thoughts:
Harnessing the power of thoughts and beliefs can significantly impact a player’s performance. One effective strategy is to develop a list of at least 10 sentences that highlight what your child likes, loves, or enjoys about soccer. Encourage them to include statements such as “I like connecting passes,” “I enjoy competing,” or “I love being on this journey.” Before every game or practice, have them read this list. The positive effects will be instant, as it sets the stage for confidence and a focused mindset.
2. Identifying and Increasing Confident Actions on the Ball:
Confidence is built through action. Help your child identify confident actions on the ball that align with their age and skill level. This could include taking players on, taking shots, making firm passes, or taking calculated risks. Encourage them to rate the frequency at which they attempt these actions on a scale of 0-100%. The focus should be on attempting these actions consistently, regardless of the immediate outcome. Over time, these confident actions will become ingrained habits, boosting their self-belief.
3. Identifying and Increasing Confident Actions off the Ball:
Confidence isn’t limited to skills directly involving the ball. Off-the-ball actions play a vital role in a player’s overall impact on the game. These actions may include making forward runs, calling for the ball, separating from defenders, or positioning themselves strategically. Just like with on-the-ball actions, encourage your child to rate the frequency of these confident actions from 0-100%. Consistently attempting these actions will enhance their confidence and effectiveness on the field.
4. Boosting Self-Esteem through Memory of Previous Successes:
Mistakes are an inevitable part of any sport. When your child makes an error, they may experience negative emotions such as disappointment or frustration. Help them break free from these emotional states by accessing their memory of previous successes. Remind them of moments when they performed exceptionally well or achieved their goals. By tapping into these positive memories, they can shift their internal state to feel proud, happy, peaceful, and ultimately more confident.
5. Relying on Stable Characteristics:
Confidence should not solely be dependent on external validation or results. Every young athlete possesses stable characteristics and traits that contribute to their overall development. Encourage your child to identify their top three character traits as an athlete, such as creativity, passion, commitment, hard work, competitiveness, or focus. Reminding themselves of these traits in challenging moments provides an immediate sense of pride and energizes their mindset.
Confidence is a choice, and by focusing on controllable actions, we can help our youth soccer players foster and strengthen it. By implementing techniques such as strategic thoughts, identifying and increasing confident actions on and off the ball, leveraging memories of past successes, and relying on stable characteristics, we can empower our children to excel on the field.
Remember, goals may be uncontrollable outcomes, but confidence is within our grasp, waiting to be nurtured. Let’s support our young athletes in building unshakable belief in their abilities, and watch them thrive as they achieve their goals.
For more education on how to best support your athlete . . .