#177: The #1 Way to Help Your Athlete Increase Her Game Day Confidence

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Do you want to help your athlete boost her game day confidence?

In this episode of the Raising Elite Competitors podcast, we’re diving into the number one way to achieve just that!

We’ll explore how you can start making a difference in your athlete’s confidence today. But before we get into it, let’s start by celebrating a remarkable mom in our sports community who shared her inspiring story.

Game Day Transformation

A mom in our sports moms’ group recently shared an incredible journey her daughter went through. Her daughter had faced an injury and was coming back to the game. They were up against a tough opponent, and the pressure was on. But what happened next was nothing short of amazing.

Her daughter started the game a bit timid but quickly regained her aggressive playstyle. She ended up scoring 16 points, including three three-pointers. Despite the challenges and the loss, her daughter remained in high spirits, proud of her effort. This mom’s story highlights the power of boosting an athlete’s game day confidence.

Why Game Day Confidence Matters

Your athlete will undoubtedly face various challenges throughout her sports career, including injuries, formidable opponents, and losses. These challenges are inevitable, and as a sports parent, you can’t always prevent them. However, you can equip your athlete with the essential skills to navigate and overcome these obstacles. The story of the mom and her daughter shows that with the right support, an athlete can thrive even in challenging circumstances.

Let’s explore how you can help your athlete build and maintain game day confidence.

Recognizing Game Day Confidence

Game day confidence manifests in several ways, and it’s essential to identify these signs in your athlete:

  • Playing in Games Like in Practice

One clear sign of game day confidence is when your athlete performs in games just as she does in practice. Consistency in performance is a strong indicator of confidence.

  • Nervous but Excited

Confidence isn’t the absence of nerves; it’s about using that nervousness as excitement to enhance performance. If your athlete remains positive and excited despite feeling nervous, it’s a good sign.

  • Avoiding Negative Prejudgments

Confidence means your athlete doesn’t enter a competition with a defeatist mindset. If she believes in her abilities and training, she’s more likely to perform well.

  • Trusting Her Training

Your athlete doesn’t have to be perfect; no one is. But she should trust the preparation and training she’s received. Lack of trust often hampers performance on game day.

The Number One Way to Boost Game Day Confidence

After years of research-based methods and strategies, the key to increasing your athlete’s game day confidence boils down to understanding and staying in your role as a sports parent. Your role involves providing the right support through your words, especially during four crucial phases of your athlete’s athletic journey.

  • Day-to-Day Support

Your athlete spends most of her time outside of competition and practice in her day-to-day life. Your words during this time are crucial. Focus on highlighting her positive innate qualities and who she is as a person, separate from her athletic achievements. This helps build her confidence by emphasizing her worth beyond her performance.

  • Pre-Competition Routine

Develop a pre-competition routine with your athlete, emphasizing short, focused, and empowering messages that are within her control. Avoid overwhelming her with advice or unnecessary pressure.

  • During Competition

During the game, your athlete reads your body language from the stands. Maintain a positive and supportive demeanor, especially after mistakes. Be mindful not to coach from the sidelines, as it can often do more harm than good.

  • Post-Competition Reflection

The moments following a competition are crucial. Use the LOVE framework: Let her lead, Open the space, Validate her emotions, and Encourage inward reflection. Give your athlete the time and space she needs to process her emotions and experiences, win or lose.

The Impact of Your Support

Athletes with parents who provide support in all four phases of their athletic journey gain a significant competitive advantage. Your role as a sports parent is to create a supportive environment that allows your athlete to thrive, emphasizing who she is as a person and helping her maintain confidence regardless of outcomes. By changing your approach and knowing what to say, you can have a profound influence on your athlete’s confidence, helping her show up differently in her sport and life.

The Bottom Line

Just like those parenting courses for toddlers, it’s not about changing your athlete; it’s about changing how you interact with her. By understanding and staying in your role, you can boost your athlete’s game day confidence, help her thrive, and create a positive and lasting impact on her sports journey. Remember, your words have the power to shape her confidence, so use them wisely.

If you’re a middle school sports mom looking for guidance on what to say before, during, and after your athlete’s competitions, join our special challenge designed just for you. Register at sportsmom.FYI/challenge to learn how to support your athlete effectively and help her perform at her best. Your support can make all the difference in her game day confidence.

Thank you for being an amazing sports mom, and keep up the great work in supporting your athlete’s journey to success!

Episode Highlights: 

[00:00] Increasing Game Day confidence in athletes. Discover the importance of mental training for girl athletes, emphasizing the number one way to increase Game Day confidence: equipping athletes with the skills to handle challenges and setbacks with confidence and resilience.

[02:25] Boosting athletes’ confidence through supportive parenting. Learn more about the importance of supporting athletes in four phases: day-to-day, pre-competition, during competition, and post-competition.

[06:56] How changing one’s approach can influence confidence in sports and life. Changing how you interact with your child can change their behavior and confidence.

[08:27] Building athletes’ confidence through parenting. Recognizing and valuing an athlete’s innate qualities and positive traits outside of their sport. Discover tips for identifying and emphasizing these qualities and using them to build confidence and influence their sport performance.

[12:39] Supporting athletes pre, during, and post competition. Tips for moms of middle school athletes on how to support their daughters during pre-competition, during competition, and post-competition phases.

Next Steps:

  • Join our Middle School Sports Mom Challenge happening January 16-19th! A 4 day challenge to learn exactly what to say to build game-day confidence in your athlete daughter. Register here.
  • Visit our podcast website for more great episodes

Thank you in advance for joining us on our mission and leaving a rating and review on Apple Podcasts.

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