How do you develop your female athlete’s confidence?
We want our daughters to not doubt themselves, and go out there strong and ready to face anything. We all want to help our daughters believe in themselves as much as we believe in them, not just in sports but also in real life.
Self-confidence is not something that just happens over time. Self-confidence needs to be cultivated and developed. Your daughter needs to train and put in the work to have self-confidence, but how can we help her do that?
Before we go into that, whether your daughter has been playing for a long time, or she’s just starting, I want you to go through this checklist as a sports mom:
- You need to see where you are in this sports journey
- You need to check if you’re doing the things that I’m about to tell you
- You need to notice which areas you need to improve
Are you ready? Here are some essentials you need to know about self-confidence and how to help your daughter develop it.
What is Self-Confidence?
What does self-confidence truly look like?
One of the soccer moms in our Elite Competitor Program community, Priscilla, experienced how her daughter developed self-confidence through mental training.
She said, “My daughter and I have completed two weeks of training so far, she’s played in two games this weekend, and yesterday was a state cup game. I can honestly say I saw zero issues with her mindset. It was such an improvement. It’s such an improvement that I could notice that she needs to work on some agility. We had a great post-game. Talk about this. And this morning we did a little workout to start addressing it. She was up and ready before me to put in the work. I think she’s starting to believe that she can be confident in herself while also striving to improve.”
It’s truly a joy to see that self-confidence in your daughter as she plays. And with Priscilla, two main things worked together to make this happen. One, her daughter was working on implementing what she is learning in the program. She is working on her mindset. She’s working on what she can control and focusing on the process out there. Two, Priscilla herself has been working on her post-game routine. What to say to her daughter after she competes.
What Do Confident Athletes Look like?
Trusting yourself is our definition of confidence. Athletes who can trust themselves, like Priscilla’s daughter, can go out and know that no matter what happens in their athletic experience, mistakes, failures, coaching issues, teammate issues, etc., they can navigate any of these experiences with confidence. This also implies that they believe in their feelings. They have faith in their past experiences. They believe in their emotions.
This is the essence of what confidence is.
Confidence is not “winning all the time”. Confidence is not “feeling good all of the time”. “Never making mistakes” is not a sign of confidence.
These obstacles can still happen, but they can be overcome by confident athletes. These athletes can face loss, failure, and mistakes and still come out stronger and continue on their journey.
What Do Athletes Who Lack Confidence Look like?
Athletes who lack confidence are afraid of these things:
- what other people think
They believe that failure is the worst thing that can happen to them. They’re curious about what other people think of them. They are not founded on trust and self-belief. And these athletes enter the competition field fearful and hesitant.
On the outside, you might not be able to see it, but on the inside, we see some of these athletes struggle with anxiety and pregame nervousness that becomes too much.
How can Athletes Play with Confidence?
We use The Elite Performance Formula to help athletes play with confidence and to their full potential in their sport. This necessitates three steps.
Step 1. Have physical training.
Most of us might have done this step already since it’s not hard to get our daughters to practice and find all these physical training opportunities. There are a lot of these opportunities and it’s still one of the important steps to help athletes enhance their skills and be confident in them.
Step 2. She needs to have more knowledge of her sport.
As your daughter gets further along in her sport, she will start to understand more about it, like the technical strategies, and the tactical strategies. All of these things help your daughter play to her potential.
Step 3. She needs to have mental training.
This is where the bulk of her confidence will come from. This is where she learns how to navigate these very normal experiences of being an athlete.
And like I said, this is a formula. They all multiply each other:
Physical training X knowledge of her sport X mental training = competent athlete who’s playing to her potential.
When any one of these increases; for example, we UP the physical training, maybe we get her more quality reps, then she is going to increase her knowledge of the sport, she’s going to feel more confident, and her mental training is going to improve a little bit knowing she’s getting better at her sport.
Vice versa, when athletes improve their mental training, they know how to handle nerves and pressure, and come back from mistakes. Because of that, they also improve in their physical game, and then they improve their knowledge of the sport.
They all amplify one another.
However, the opposite is true as well. So, if we are lacking in any one of these areas; for example, if she’s not putting in the physical training, she can believe all she wants, but she’s never going to reach her potential.
The same also goes for mental training. And this is the area that often gets overlooked.
If she doesn’t know how to come back from mistakes, if she lets the pre-game anxiety and nerves take over, then she can’t play with confidence. She will never reach that level of a confident athlete who’s performing to her potential.
If she doesn’t have these skills of confidence, she might end up walking away from the sport that she loves, which was my story. If you know anything about my story, I can attest to it that she can be physically talented, but if she doesn’t believe in herself, then that talent will never reach its potential.
What are the Essential First Steps You Can Take to Help Your Daughter Develop Self-confidence in Her Sport?
To help your daughter get through her athletic journey and gain self-confidence, here are the essential first steps you can take.
#1. Know your role.
The first one is knowing your role. If you’ve been to any one of our training, you’ve heard this before and what we know to be true is that there are four main roles in your daughter’s athletic experience.
- the athlete
- the coach
- the ref
- the parent
It’s really important that you not only know your role but stay in your role.
Some of us are former athletes, and sometimes we tend to forget that we’re not the athletes in this sports journey anymore. I know some of us just want the best for our kids. And so we have these expectations that we need to check. But we also need to check in with ourselves if, “Is this what my daughter wants? Or is this what I want?”.
This is your daughter’s athletic experience, and it’s not your athletic experience anymore. So you’re not the athlete, and you’re not the coach, you’re the parent now.
Sometimes, we tend to also forget that we’re not the coach. We want to give her tips. We want to help. We want to tell her what we saw because we think it’s going to help, which it might, but if she is not open and willing to receive it, it makes things worse.
It creates confusion if you’re giving conflicting information to the coach for instance, and most of all she doesn’t need reminders from you. She doesn’t need tips from you. She needs you to be a parent, a mom.
You are the parent and your job as the parent is these two main things.
- You shaped the environment – Shaping the environment happens by how you show up for your daughter, and how you talk about yourself. What you say a lot about yourself influences your daughter’s confidence a lot. It becomes her inner voice. So how are you modeling confidence?
- You provide opportunities – You provide opportunities through enrolling her in physical and mental training.
#2. Provide opportunities for your daughter to develop confidence.
“We don’t want to shape the path for our kids. We want to shape our kids for the path.”
It is part of our jobs as moms to provide the opportunity for her to develop confidence. We don’t want to just be removing obstacles in our daughter’s way, all the time in her sport. We can’t remove all the obstacles. There are going to be potential conflicts with teammates, maybe a disagreement with a coach.
All of these things are going to be in your daughter’s path as an athlete.
But when we’re coming in fixing things and taking things out of her path, we are robbing her of the opportunity to be able to face these challenges and develop the confidence that she needs to come out on the other end better.
Confidence is a skill. It’s just like any other physical skill. We can’t just hope that our athletes are going to somehow pick them up with another level of play or a new coach, or as she gets older.
The higher she goes up in her sport, the more confidence is going to be required of her, and it’s not the other way around.
#3. Shift where you are giving your recognition in your praise.
There are some unintended consequences of praise. We need to be very intentional about where we are placing our recognition when it comes to our athlete daughters.
It’s very easy for us to focus on the outcomes because they’re the most easily seen. These are the things like the goals, scores, her stats, the number of kills she got in a game, wins and losses, all of these are the outcomes. And they’re the easiest thing to recognize and place our focus on.
But here’s the deal, when we are only focusing on outcomes, our daughters get the subconscious message that their self-worth, their identity, and their confidence, are rooted in their outcomes or their performance.
The problem with that is their outcomes are not in their control.
She can influence her outcomes, but at the end of the day, winning, or losing the number of points she’s scoring is actually out of her control because there are so many other factors that go into it. There’s the other team. There are their coaching decisions. There are their teammates. There’s the nature of whatever is happening in the game that day or that competition.
So, those are actually out of our control.
If she is now feeling like she has to control something that’s out of her control, that’s where that extra pressure comes in.
We need to look at where we are focusing on recognition. So something simple that you can do is shift to what is the process. The process is in her control. And the process could influence the outcome.
For example; she had an amazing game, so let’s shift our praise not on the win or her performance but on how you are inspired by how much work she puts in every single day to get there, or how you noticed she wanted that win to happen and not give up.
All of these things are in her control:
- her attitude
- her effort
- her preparation
- her ability to take coaching
- her ability to be a good teammate
All of those things are in her control. And so the more that we can focus on those things that are in control, the more confidence your athlete’s going to have.
We want our daughters to know that they are worthy regardless of their outcome, regardless of their performance.
The very normal parts of being an athlete involve handling pressure, preparing for adversaries, overcoming mistakes, and learning the tangible skills to develop confidence in her sport.
To help your daughter with this you need to:
#1. Know your role and stay in your role
#2. Provide her the opportunities to develop her confidence
#3. Shift, where you were giving her recognition and praise
I hope you feel empowered to take on some of these first steps.
And if you want to go a little bit deeper, go check out our free training for sports moms at trainhergame.com. This will help you with a really specific foundation with a step-by-step on what you can do to help build her confidence as well.
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