#99: 3 Common Mistakes Sports Moms Make That Hurt Their Daughter’s Mental Game

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Most moms want the best for their athlete daughters. However, in the process they can unintentionally make some mistakes that wind up hurting their daughter’s confidence in the long run. 

These are all very common things that most moms, including myself, have done. And I’ve seen moms do these things without realizing the long-term effects they’re having on their daughter’s mental health.

I want to go over these things and share them with you because almost every mother has made these mistakes. Don’t be too harsh on yourself, either, because you’re not alone in this. I’ve done these things as well, and I wanted to shed some light on them.

Why do we do it? I know we always start with the best of intentions. But what we intended to be beneficial may end up harming our daughter’s mental health in the long run. So, let’s start with what causes these three common errors and how we can avoid them.

Mistake #1. Thinking that your daughter will play more confidently if you just tell her to be confident or get out of her head. 

This is something we’re all guilty of. I’m sure you’ve had the experience of telling your daughter, “Just go be confident,” “don’t be nervous,” or “relax.”

Unfortunately, this will not always work. That’s because telling isn’t the same as teaching. You can’t just advise someone to be confident and expect them to immediately look and feel confident.

It’s natural for us as mothers to strive to make an uncomfortable situation better for our daughters. However, rushing in and encouraging them to disregard their feelings will cause them to lose confidence. By telling kids they shouldn’t be nervous, you’re indirectly teaching them that their feelings are incorrect. Sometimes it might later dawn on them that they aren’t secure enough, or that they aren’t calm enough, to play the game. They’ll be even more terrified. As a result, your daughter may begin to doubt her abilities to go out and play.

Here’s what we can do: 

Refocus and provide her with the opportunity to train her thinking. Confidence begins in your daughter’s thoughts before it manifests itself on the court. And your daughter’s intellect has the ability to both limit and empower her. It all depends on what she tells herself, what she believes about herself, and what she thinks.

Our thoughts become our reality, but if your daughter isn’t conscious of these beliefs that are holding her back or how to shift them, she’ll be stuck and insecure. Your daughter will not realize her full potential until she develops her mind.

Our subconscious mind, according to brain scientists, rules the show. As a result, athletes who have trained their subconscious mind through visualization and deliberate thought practice can overcome limiting beliefs. Give your daughter an advantage in the competition. You can give her the chance, but she must do the job herself. You cannot improve her mental game for her. You can’t do this work for her. She has to be the one that does this work.

Instead, mothers should help their daughters by remaining in their responsibilities. If you’ve been paying attention, you’re aware that there are four roles in your daughter’s athletic experience. There’s the athlete, the coach, and the official, and your task has already been assigned to you. You are the parent, and it is your responsibility as a parent to shape your daughter’s environment. Your nonverbal and spoken acts have a strong influence on your daughter, so you must be deliberate in how you present yourself. Your responsibility is not to provide unsolicited coaching, advice, and reminders to her.

When mothers attempt to take on the role of coach and begin to coach and remind. They begin to tie their own desires for their child. As a result, the athlete gets pressured.

So stay in your role to shape the environment for her based on what you say to her. And provide opportunities for her to develop her own physical and mental game. 

Mistake #2. Not realizing how your own confidence impacts your daughters.

You may be asking what your confidence has to do with your daughter’s self-esteem. The truth is, you are one of the most influential people in your daughter’s confidence. And so your own confidence influences your daughter’s confidence. Your own self-belief influences your daughter’s self-belief. Your own mental game impacts your daughter’s mental game.

As parents, we need to hone our confidence because low confidence will end up hurting our daughter’s mental game. Our confidence and her confidence are inextricably linked. Things we say to ourselves out loud that are unduly judgmental and unhelpful can become our daughter’s inner voice.

Here’s what we can do: 

If you want your daughter to have extremely positive, productive thoughts about herself, be conscious of what you’re thinking. Be aware of your thoughts about yourself, because our thoughts construct our reality. Your ideas have an impact on the energy and atmosphere that your daughter is in.

When you concentrate on your self-esteem, you stop putting pressure on your daughter, and it gives your daughter freedom. It’s a way to quit trying to mold and transform your daughter into someone they’re not supposed to be.

You can’t control what your daughter is thinking, or what thoughts might come up to her. But you can control your thoughts, and what you think about yourself, and you can try to influence your daughter through all that positivity.

Mistake #3. Expecting your daughter’s mental game will just improve with more experience or with help from the coach. 

This is easy to believe in because your daughter’s coach is “the coach”. You might be thinking that they are in charge and that they know the quality practices, and how to prepare for competition to win. 

Coaches might be in charge of their physical training but not the aspect of mental training. Most coaches are not trained in the mental side of the sport.

In my case, I had to go seek my own certification. I had to spend my own money and my own time to get trained in this side of the sport. I’m so passionate about it that we created a whole business around it. Now we are moving to hopefully educate more coaches in this area, but there’s a lot that we haven’t reached yet. Most likely your daughter’s coach is not trained in the mental side of the sport. So, don’t just depend on your daughter’s coach to do everything for her. You can’t blame the coach for everything that’s missing or lacking. Stop expecting your daughter’s coach to do something that they are not trained in. Don’t dwell either on the whole expectation that she’ll just become confident with time, that’s not gonna work. This even hurts your daughter’s mental game because you are relying on something that is not going to come through for your daughter. 

Your daughter needs to have the mental skills first so that she can get to the next level in her sport. And mental skills have to be taught and practiced. They’re not just picked up along the way. 

Here’s what we can do:

Confidence does indeed come from competence. So when an athlete does improve her skills, she does become more confident. However, that’s not always the solution

A lot of athletes expect their output and competition to equal their input and practice. But many athletes practice well and still fall apart in a game. When this happens, instead of learning the lesson to seek mental game training, most athletes play it safe. They don’t choose to go out and see their full potential. 

A mental factor is involved in the answer to poor play. This is something we teach in our elite competitor program. We teach athletes to focus on their attitudes, beliefs, and habits as a complement to the physical effort they do. Athletes who focus on their mental game feel free to take risks and play their hearts out because they aren’t frightened of making mistakes. They can recover from mistakes. They understand that mistakes are a necessary element of their development and success.

Confident and elite athletes are those who have followed a system and who have worked on their own beliefs about themselves and are very aware of how to shift their limiting beliefs, how to shift their thoughts, and how to turn negative thoughts into productive thoughts. 

The overarching remedy to the three faults we’ve outlined is to take care of your mental game. You can’t just tell her to be confident and hope for the best.

You need to stay in your role to shape the environment for your daughter. Your confidence as a mom influences your daughter’s confidence. So, make sure that you’re very aware of how you’re showing up for your daughters. You can’t always depend on time, or on her coach to hone your daughter’s mental game and confidence. There’s actually a process, training, and work involved for your female athlete to have a competitive advantage and perform to her fullest potential. 


Helpful Links:

  • Join our FREE training for Sports Moms – How To Strengthen Your Athlete Daughter’s Mental Game Without Being Pushy Or Saying The Wrong Thing.
  • Join us inside our FREE Facebook Group – The Elite Competitor Society – for weekly Q&A, periodic trainings and challenges, and the support of an amazing community of moms, coaches, and the men who partner with us!

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