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Sports Kids Who Lost Confidence

Helping Kids Regain Confidence

Listing Goals You Want to Achieve

A study by the Aspen Institute and Utah State University–commissioned by TeamSnap–revealed what parents want most from youth sports and kids’ ability to meet those goals.

Team Snap’s survey showed that parents, most of all, want kids to have fun, said Peter Frintzilas,  CEO of TeamSnap, a youth sports management app., in an interview with our Ultimate Sports Parent podcast.

Ninety-five percent of parents said they want their kids to have fun in sports, said the TeamSnap survey. Eighty-nine percent said mental health support is important and 88 percent said they want sports to enhance their kids’ physical health.

But parents’ goals haven’t been realized in the last two years, said Frintzilas. Only 54 percent of parents said their kids are still having fun. Only 52 percent said that participating in youth sports is having a positive impact on kids’ mental health. And 52 percent said they felt like their kids were performing at pre-pandemic levels, meaning they hadn’t improved.

Part of the reason for the dissatisfaction is the drop in opportunities to play sports. Many events have been canceled.  And restrictions have been hard on kids, said Frintzilas.

Of course, the drop in satisfaction, performance and mental health hurt kids’ confidence in sports, he said. But sports can help kids boost their confidence as sports returns to normal.

As parents look toward the spring season, they should focus first of all at ensuring their kids are having fun, said Frintzilas. Parents should actively participate in youth sports by watching games and helping the team, he said.

Parents should also focus on reducing the screen time that increased during the pandemic. In addition, they should encourage kids to get back in sports. More than 60 percent of parents said that decreased sports participation during the pandemic led to increased screen time.

A number of mental game strategies will also help kids whose confidence and performance were undermined by the pandemic.

Parents can ensure their young athletes’ expectations aren’t too high, because this can lead to frustration if they don’t meet their lofty expectations. In addition, help young athletes  replace negative self-talk– “I can’t” statements–with more positive self-talk, including “I can” statements.

What’s more, parents can ensure their young athletes plan well for games or performances. That means they need to eat well before performances and ensure they have proper equipment. 

And young athletes can put together a list of mini-goals they’d like to achieve during games or performances. These goals will help them focus on the moment, rather than on the score or win.

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