A common question we are asked, or a concern of parents, is how can we affect a youth players confidence? In the age of social media, and changing beliefs and values throughout society, confidence has become a miss understood concept.
Confidence has become a perception of what people see, the posts and messages put on social media oozing with confidence as people put themselves in the limelight, often portraying their ‘best self’, and other people, celebrities, people of influence, letting us know they are thriving! Through this new age of self promotion through media, we are believing that confidence is what the loud, bold, and brash have. However, that is not the case, and being the loudest, opinionated person is not confidence. This new trend in modern society has a knock-on effect of what we expect in youth sports.
Confidence is the belief in being able to complete a task, and specifically a task in a given moment, it’s very much intrinsic.
Youth development is a completely different domain to senior sport. Senior sport is outcome driven (game results, championships), youth sport is a process of improvement (process goals to improve dribbling, shooting, etc). With that said, the senior game is becoming even more individualized, and process driven.
The attached presentation will introduce confidence as one of the 5 main ‘Cs’ of sports psychology (https://www.fremontyouthsoccer.com/psychological/), and how the Individual Development Plan as an intervention will support player confidence.
Assimilating this to a game situation, no matter the result, how we frame, and review players experiences can support confidence. As the adults involved in the experience, if we frame a process for the player (e.g., when you receive the ball can you take on your player – with levels of support from the coach to guide the player to solutions in how to beat the opponent), confidence is achieved through being invested in a process, and empowerment to make their own decision in how to beat an opponent. In addition, making gains in performance increases performance and long-term improvement, utilizing a short-term process goal, as opposed to relying on an outcome that is not within the individual’s control. The review (what is said after the game), is incredibly important. Focusing on a result, or comparing to others damages the individual psychologically, in review as the adults involved the coach should be offering solutions in guiding the player to how they can use their experience to further improve and positively reinforce the positive moments, and as parents we can let the player know we loved seeing the determination and effort they showed to improve.
Soccer coaching is significantly more than how to kick or dribble, is deeper than ‘who wants it more’, and cannot be measured by game results. It is a long-term process. The continued ‘race to nowhere’, is having this negative effect on all players. With more league acronyms, fancier and bigger trophies and medals, the toxic nature of youth sports spirals, as we leave best interests of players behind as clubs chase numbers and ultimately money!
We look forward to seeing the players engage in their own IDP (our foundation phase players engaging in their TopTekkers challenges, and older players their own individual plans and training away from practice), and empowering the player to make decisions on where and how they are going to focus on their continued growth.