Boost Confidence Through Good Communication
For parents, connecting with young athletes is an important bonus of youth sports…
Harley Rotbart, pediatrician, sports parent and author of the bestselling “No Regrets Parenting” says it’s important for parents to take advantage of the opportunities to boost communication with kids while helping them participate in youth sports.
The car ride is one great opportunity, Rotbart told us during an interview with our Ultimate Sports Parent podcast.
When Rotbart’s sports kids were young, he always warmed them up for 20 minutes before getting in the car to head to a game.
“We would hit tennis balls for 20 minutes before we got in the car. Or we would shoot baskets for 20 minutes,” he says. But once the young athletes got in the car, it was time to leave sports behind and talk about the rest of their lives, Rotbart says.
During warmups and in the car, it’s critical to show kids you’re listening, he says. Parents can do this by saying things like “aha!” and “I agree!” At stop lights, parents can turn and face their young athletes to show that they’re listening.
“By paying attention, we let them know that what’s important to them is important to us, too,” he says. This type of listening can boost kids’ confidence and also improve communication with them, which is critical to being sports parents.
During the ride, it’s also important to let the kids dominate the conversation, says Rotbart. That means prompting them, and being sure to listen and let them talk.
While some experts say it’s not a good idea to discuss the game during the ride home, Rotbart says that it’s okay to talk about what happened during the game, as long as the kids want to discuss it.
“On the way home is the time to talk about the game. You can do a little bit of debriefing: How could you have passed the ball more effectively, for example. But on the way to practice, there should not be any strategy or coaching,” he says.
In addition to practicing good listening and communication skills during the car rides, parents need to communicate well about the pandemic, says Rotbart…
“In my 35 years as a pediatric infectious disease doctor, we have never had a challenge like Covid,” he says. One of the challenges is kids’ getting enough social interaction.
To help them cope, parents should encourage sports kids to play pickup games outside. “The bottom line is to create opportunities to give them free play, fun activities with their friends,” he says.
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Help Your Kids Improve Mental Toughness
It’s no secret that sports success is linked closely to an athlete’s mental toughness. If your young athletes struggle to perform well in competition, are frustrated with their performance, talk about quitting or display low confidence levels, mental game training can help. Both you and your young athlete can learn how to build mental toughness and improve performance with sports psychology coaching for kids.
One-on-one sports psychology coaching is the fastest and most effective method to improve your athletes’ mental game, boost their performance, and make lasting changes. And as a bonus, parents learn what to say to help young athletes feel confident and thrive in sports.
Please call us at 888-742-7225 with your questions. Please contact us today to learn more about individual mental coaching programs for serious young athletes on a mission to greatness: