#79: What Most Parents Get Wrong About Their Athlete’s Confidence

click here


What can a mom do to help their female athletes cope with confidence issues?

Wanting to know what moms can do to help their female athletes is probably the first step and right thing to ask. It is what sports moms are expected to do. However, there are a lot of things that get overlooked in the process of trying to find the answers and solutions to the issue at hand.

What most parents get wrong is treating the symptoms, but not the actual cause.

“Remove the branches of a thorn bush today and you’ll avoid a scrape this year. But next year, you’ll face the same problem again. Remove the root of the bush today, and the entire plant will die. Are you solving problems at the branch level or the root level?” – James Clear

Do you think treating “confidence problems” at the branch level? Or at the root level?

Find out more and get ready because we’re gonna dive deep into what a branch-level treatment is. And we’re gonna discuss how to treat confidence issues at the root level. 

What is Confidence for Athletes

Confidence is how you put yourself out there. It’s how you look competent in your body language. And how you respond to setbacks. Overall, confidence is all about trusting yourself at the core.

We teach female athletes in our programs to trust their emotions, training, and experiences because when athletes trust themselves, they feel confident to go out and perform.

When your athlete cannot come back from their mistakes, it may be because they lack confidence. Their focus on not letting anyone down is getting in the way of having that self-confidence an athlete needs. 

Branch level: 

Many parents treat their athlete’s confidence problems at a branch level. 

  • Convincing her that she’s good enough
  • Reminding her of all the things she did right
  • More reps or physical training

As moms, we often do these things to make our athletes feel better about themselves. We want to stop them from having all these negative thoughts and feelings because we want to help. We want to comfort them by saying the opposite about what they feel and think. 

These things may help for a moment but it doesn’t solve the problem in long term. 

By subtly putting it out that what she felt is not right, you are slowly affecting her self-confidence in the long run. Confidence at its root is about trusting ourselves. If we keep telling our daughters to not be upset at the moment, we are indirectly telling them to not trust themselves and what they feel. 

She might discredit her feelings and consider them untrue.

It is better to listen, validate, and hold space for your daughter to breathe and let her feelings out. Trying to make her feel better at the moment by saying how talented she was, the good things she did, and anything that invalidates her current feelings are all just a temporary fix. 

Another example of moms treating confidence problems at the branch level is getting their daughter into more physical training. They try to fix the problem technically by adding more physical training to improve their daughter’s skills. 

Providing her with the opportunities to enhance her physical skills is not bad at all. Physical training helps, but not if the underlying cause of the problem is different. If the underlying cause of her confidence problem is rooted in her beliefs, inability to change her thoughts, and inability to come back from mistakes, then no amount of physical training is going to solve that.

Branch-level solutions will help for a little bit, but it doesn’t help once she gets back in that same situation where she doesn’t know what to do. 

If nothing changed at the root level, then she’s gonna be spiraling into her negative thoughts again, doubting herself again, or just continue having that lack of confidence.

Root Level:

The root-level solutions include allowing your daughter to discover how to change herself. It is allowing them to explore and learn the underlying beliefs they have about themselves.

In the Elite Competitor Program, we don’t tell the athletes to avoid negative thoughts. They must learn how to handle negative thoughts, question these thoughts, and be self-aware. The ability to examine where the thought is coming from is crucial in the athlete’s competitive development. 

Athletes who lack the skill to examine their thoughts will believe everything they think. There are a lot of times when athletes have no clue what they believe about themselves until they sit still and try to think about it. 

In module one of the Elite Competitor Program, we have our athletes think about what they wanted in their career guaranteeing everything is possible. 

A lot of our athletes answered, wanting to play fearlessly, play in college, and other big goals in their athletic career. After that, we ask our athletes “what is standing in the way of that?”.

Most of the answers turn out to be limiting beliefs that have been holding them back. Athletes need to be able to understand what beliefs they’re holding about themselves and challenge those beliefs. We take them through a process in our program for them to learn how to challenge those beliefs. And we guide them to create new, more productive beliefs so that they’re moving in the direction they want to go. 

Their beliefs matter.

To treat confidence problems at the root level you can help provide opportunities for them to learn the following.

  • Ability to acknowledge and change their thoughts
  • Dismantling perfectionism and shifting towards healthy striving
  • Tools to regulate their nerves under pressures
  • Pre-performance routines to get in the zone
  • Recovery methods to pull themselves back together on their own.

Our daughters have the skills within them. She has everything within her that she needs to be the athlete she aspires to be, she hasn’t just been taught skills that lead to confidence, yet. 


Helpful Links:

The BEST way to help us spread the word and get this information into the hands of millions of parents, coaches, and female athletes is by leaving a rating and review on Apple Podcasts. Thank you in advance for joining us on our mission!

All Episodes, Building Confidence

listen now

In the latest episode of The Raising Unstoppable Girl Athletes Podcast, Coach Bre shares tips on unlocking the power of confidence to help girl athletes excel.

Do This To Be More Confident In Your Next Competition

listen now

Kylie shares her insights into how utilizing resources like those taught inside ECP has helped her level up by improving her mental game.

How To Train The Mental Game w/ D1 Beach Volleyball Player Kylie DeBerg

listen now

ave you ever had to deal with negative teammates? The ones who bring unnecessary drama or negativity to the team dynamic?

Athlete Tip (How To Handle Negative Teammates)

Know what to say with these top episodes

Your Varsity-level skill set

Listen to our most loved 
athlete tips episodes

Looking for tips for your athlete?