5 Steps to build a players confidence

More and more we are getting parents approaching us saying their child is just not confident on the pitch. This is detrimental, because when a player plays with confidence they express themselves and usually thrive. In this post, we are giving you 5 ways in which you can help develop your players confidence.

Why is it important to get a confident player?

As you can see the graph on the left represents how confidence can affect an individuals sporting performance. From this graph, we can see their is an optimal level we need to reach in order to get the best performance. This post will discuss 5 ways in which we can help players reach this optimum level.

Setting Goals

Goal setting is a clear way to help players to develop confidence, as it is gives them something to work towards and strive for. The beauty of goals are, they can be as hard or as easy as the player wants. Therefore if the player is in need of a confidence boost then set an easier goal they can achieve, and then progress it on each time.

When setting these goals it is always best to follow the SMART principle, as this really helps to give direction to the goals, rather than just being random.

Specific – The goal is very specific to the player and the sport

Measurable – you are able to measure it and compare

Achievable – The player will be able to get to the goal and it isn’t out their reach

Realistic – It is a real thing which could happen in a game

Timely – there is a time limit on it, in which gives them a point to reach the goal by.

Example: In my next game I am going to get 5 shots on target. 

For your players next game, why not try and set them 3 goals in which they have to try and achieve. 

Praise Skill not Performance

If you come and watch one of our sessions you can see players are thriving, trying new skills, communicating well and generally being confident. This is because we are solely focusing on the skills of the player, praising them for skills which are done well.

Now sometimes when a player goes into a game, they get judged on their performance rather than the skill. Due to this, it may mean the player feels pressured to have a good performance. To prevent this from happening, praise your child for the skills they performed in the game, or look for all the positives they did.

For example, if they made a brilliant pass across the pitch then remind them of this, as this helps to give them the belief they are able to do things well and to a good standard.

Recognise the Good in Failure

For us failure and mistakes are the greatest thing which can happen, as this is the part where the most learning will happen. If players are making mistakes then they are learning, meaning they are becoming better players.

Naturally some children may be scared of failure, which puts fear and doubt in their mind, resulting in them not playing with confidence. As parents and coaches, we need to shift this mindset so players do not fear failing, rather they embrace it and take it on.

Someone who fears failure may look like they don’t want to take a player on, or they just kick the ball away straight away. To stop this, have the conversation with them and say things like “okay you gave the ball away there, but what was the reason that happened and how would you change it next time?”

This is then provoking the thought process of why. Creating this is exactly what we want to do, because it means the player begins to understand the game rather than just playing.

Focus on themselves doing their best

Players may feel pressure because they are comparing themselves against others, whether this be their own teammates or the opposition this will inevitably invite pressure on themselves.

To prevent this, we want to get the player focusing on themselves and not comparing to anyone else.

To do this get the player to look at their past performances, and ask how can you do better this time?

Let the player run their own race, there are so many factors which can affect how well they do so it isn’t even worth comparing.

The main thing we can do, is recognise they need to better than themselves each time.

TrainPractice, Practice, Practice

As the saying goes it takes 1000 hours to master a skill, therefore there is no better way to develop a players confidence than getting them to practice. When we practice, we build up muscle memory resulting in us naturally performing skills without thinking because we are that used to the movements involved.

We need to encourage players to go out and practice as much as they can, this will help to build their confidence massively. In particular it is good to put them into situational based practices, as they then see how it can apply to their games. Then when it comes to the game they have been in the situations 100’s of times before so they are naturally able to work out the answer. 

Throughout the practice periods, the players will get these eureka moments where something just clicks for them and it is these moments which are going to help develop their confidence the most.

Want to Join The Squad?

If you would like to join the JCR Sports Coaching squad, we’re waiting for you! To get in touch with us regarding your coaching requirements, please do not hesitate to use any of the methods provided through the website to reach out.