#8: How To Help Your Athlete Believe She’s ‘Good Enough’

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“My daughter doesn’t feel like she’s good enough!”

Good enough to be on the team…
Good enough to compete with other athletes…
Or, just that nothing she does will ever be “good enough”! 

It can be hard as a parent, especially if you feel like you tell her all the time that she IS good, but she won’t believe it. 

Below, I’ve compiled some key drivers in our role as parents to help our kids have the confidence to know they are good enough (on and off the court/field!)

Separate Who She Is from What She Does

It’s really easy to point out our daughter’s accomplishments. And we should celebrate when she scores the goal, brings home the awesome report card, or earns the award!

However, when we only celebrate them for what they DO, they lose their confidence when they can’t or don’t do it. They also put unneeded pressure on themselves to be performing always because that’s what they think they need to do in order to receive your praise. 

Instead, we want to focus on WHO she is. In a parent challenge group I ran recently, I asked parents what they love most about their daughters. 

Moms said things like…

“I love her tenacious personality”
“I love that she never gives up”
“I love her smile and sense of humor”

Not one mom said…

“I love that she scores the most points on the team!”
“I love that she has straight A’s!”

Although these things are great too, focusing on who our daughters are apart from what they DO is key in helping them feel like they are good enough just being themselves. 

Think about what you love about your daughter and be intentional about acknowledging and recognizing these things daily. 

Other great phrases to have in your back pocket:

“I love being with you”
“I love who you are”
“You are the type of person that doesn’t back down from a challenge”
“You allow people to feel included around you, that’s a great quality.”

Reframe Your Reaction To Failure/Mistakes

If you’ve been following along for a while, you know that one of the most important part of a player’s growth and development is her ability to fail, make mistakes, LEARN, and get better. 

The learning and getting better can’t happen without the mistake! It’s important that athletes know this and truly believe it. 

However, as parents, our verbal and nonverbal reactions to mistakes carry a lot of meaning. We can tell our daughter that mistakes are necessary to growth…but if we are showing signs of disapproval when she makes one, those words hold no weight. 

When she feels like she can’t make mistakes for fear of disappointing you (or seeing your reaction), she will be less likely to risk and play to her potential. Therefore, feeling like she isn’t good enough and even worse when she does make a mistake.

Some simple ways to ensure your reaction to her mistakes/failure encourage your daughter to continue to get better and know she’s good enough:

– Frame mistakes as “learning opportunities” when you’re talking about them. Instead of criticizing her mistakes, be intentional about asking her what she learned from it and how she’s going to use what she learned to get better. Plus, be excited about that new learning that wouldn’t have happened had she not made a mistake!

-Be hyper aware of your body language when your daughter makes a mistake. This includes your facial expressions and what you do physically with your body. Crossing arms, looking upset, and reacting in a dramatic way will cause your daughter to fear making mistakes (which is the opposite of what we want). 

Give Information Over Criticism 

Along the lines of failure and mistakes, when we talk to our daughters about where they came up short, make sure to give information vs criticism. 

Criticism sounds like: 

“Why can’t you get your work done faster?”
“You need to be more aggressive and serve more like _______ (teammate name)”
“It’s your fault that you procrastinated!”

Giving information sounds like:

“When you give yourself more time for your work, you are able to finish”
“When you stop short on your follow through, your serve tends to go in the net”
“When you wait until the last minute, you tend to stress yourself out”

The difference is that we are giving information that can actually help the situation and put the athlete back in control, rather than just criticizing her for how she didn’t measure up. 

There you have it! Three ways that we as parents can help our athletes know that they are good enough on the court/field, but also in life! 

Helpful Links:

  • Download the free resources we’ve created for you
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