7 Ways to Build Real Self-Esteem in Youth Athletes

7 Ways to Build Real Self-Esteem in Youth Athletes:

1) They don’t have it yet.

2) They will have it one day.

(If they want it badly enough.)

3) You can make them believe that they already had it when they really didn’t.

(It’s not easy but you can do it!)

4) If you are going to give them something, then give them something that makes sense!

5) Don’t tell them what to do; just show them how it works.

6) Give them a reason why they should succeed.

7 Ways to Build Real Self-Esteem in Youth Athletes - GYM FIT WORKOUT

(They’ll like you better if they think you care. )

7) Make sure they are getting some kind of reward for doing well.

(You’re not just giving them a trophy or cash prize, you’re making them feel good about themselves too.)

How to Build Confidence in Youth Athletes:

In order to build confidence in youth athletes, you need to understand that there are several factors involved. These include:

The type of sport. Some sports require more mental strength than others.

The age of the athlete. Younger athletes lack the ability to stay focused as well as older ones.

The personality of the athlete. Some are more prone to self-doubt than others.

The amount of dedication they have to succeed in their sport.

Their ability to handle criticism. (Some people actually thrive off it, while others let it get to them. )

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The amount of support they receive from parents and coaches. (Some athletes can’t handle too much pressure. Others need it to succeed. )

Are you a good coach?

Let’s see just how much you know about this matter. Answer these questions to see if you qualify!

A good coach can:

1) Identify which of the following is NOT a true characteristic of a good coach.

(They must show tough love, they should be approachable, they shouldn’t yell at their athletes, they should be fair when disciplining their athletes, they should prepare the team for all situations, going from being an athlete themselves).

2) Identify which of the following is NOT a responsibility of a coach.

(Evaluating talent, teaching technique, motivating the team, creating game plans, setting weekly practice schedules, asking for more money).

3) Identify the type of coach that would NOT be good to have on your team.

(A coach that doesn’t teach you a specific skill, A coach that doesn’t push you to do your best, A coach that yells at you all the time no matter what you do, A coach that doesn’t prepare a practice plan).

4) Identify which of the following is a responsibility that falls on the shoulders of the athlete.

(Keeping your eyes on the ball at all times, Making the team better in some way, Having respect for all coaches and players, Picking teams in a fair way, Paying a fee for participating in a sport).

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5) Identify the type of discipline that a coach should NOT use.

(Yelling at players, benching them, Making them run laps, Saying they aren’t good enough to play, Calling their parents).

6) Identify which situation below would be MOST likely to cause athlete burnout.

(Playing a game you aren’t good at, Being the Best Player on the team and carrying the team to victory every game, Being forced to practice a lot but never getting into games, Being forced to play a sport you don’t like as much).

Would you make a good coach?

Let’s find out. Answer these questions to see if you got what it takes!


1) Confidence can be a powerful thing.

But it can also be a fragile thing. If you are too overconfident, then you may underperform. But if you are too insecure, then you won’t perform well either.

What’s the best way to handle this?

a) Ignore it. Your confidence will go up and down naturally throughout your career. Try not to pay too much attention to it. b) Confidence is about as important as your physical health. Make sure you stay in shape, and keep your mental health in check. c) Stay humble. Success and failure go hand and hand in sports. Don’t get too down on yourself if you have a bad game. d) Keep a level head. There’s a time to be confident and a time to be humble. Figuring out which is which will come with experience.


2) It’s the last seconds of the championship basketball game.

You’re at the free throw line, and you need to make both of these shots to win the game. a) You miss the first one. The fans in the stadium simultaneously groan in disappointment.

What’s the best thing to do in this situation?

a) Worry about what other people think and let the pressure get to you. Leave the court immediately after missing the shot. b) Take your time before you shoot the second one. Don’t let the timeout before the shot affect you. c) Ignore the pressure and the fans. Just concentrate on the hoop. d) Smile at the fans, wave, and then sink both of the shots. Let them see that it doesn’t bother you in the least.


3) You’re a young adult, and it’s your first day as an intern for a professional sports team.

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They hand you off to the coach, who quickly lays down the rules. a) He says that you should never speak unless you’re spoken to, and that you should do everything he says without any backtalk.

What’s the best approach here?

a) Do what the coach says without hesitation. b) Find a place in the coach’s line of vision and sit there, but make sure to speak up if you have something important to say. c) Ignore the coach and do what you’re supposed to. d) Tell the coach that you refuse to take orders from someone who isn’t professional.


4) There’s a game going on, and everyone’s screaming in your ear.

a) You focus on the sounds of the crowd and try to block out all of the announcer’s noise. b) You listen to what the announcer says, but don’t let it get to you if he says something negative. c) The announcer is a big distraction. you decide to block out everything except for the sounds on the court.

d) The announcer is the mouthpiece of the fans, so you try to block everything he says out.


5) You’ve been in this town for a few years, and people still haven’t figured out your name.

Every now and then, someone does, but for the most part you answer to a different nickname every day. a) You let them call you whatever they want. It’s not worth the effort to correct them. b) You try to tell everyone your real name when they call you something else, but some just don’t listen.

c) You tell everyone you’re called “The Outlaw”, and that any other nickname is incorrect. d) You tell people to call you by your real name, and give a short lecture on how that’s what you’re called.


6) You’ve been challenged to a fight by a big guy in a bar.

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a) Just because he’s bigger than you doesn’t mean he’ll win. Attack him immediately! b) Ask him if he’s afraid to fight a relatively unknown guy like you. c) Tell him that if he wants to fight someone, he can fight you after you’ve finished your drink.

d) Tell him you don’t fight just anyone… unless he’s a beautiful lady. Then you’d make an exception.


7) Your coach has called a meeting just before the big game.

a) You’re used to these, so you sit down to listen. b) During the meeting, someone brings in pizza and soda for everyone, so you eat before it starts. c) You pay attention, because you’ve never known the coach to be funny. (You’d laugh if someone else said it, but not him).

d) You don’t go to the meeting, because you think the coach doesn’t respect you.


8) Your best friend on the team just got a full ride to Stanford.

7 Ways to Build Real Self-Esteem in Youth Athletes - GYM FIT WORKOUT

The whole team is celebrating at this friend’s house.. a) You continue to congratulate your friend and enjoy the party. b) While everyone else is celebrating, you slip out the door and head home. c) You crash the party with a few of your other friends, even though they didn’t get athletic scholarships.

d) You stay for a little while, but you’re feeling down about the fact that your other friends are getting scholarships and you aren’t.


9) Someone has insulted you in front of everyone.

a) You’d show everyone how tough you are if he wasn’t such a pansy. b) You laugh off the insult and pretend that you’d never associate yourself with someone who isn’t funny. c) You ignore the fact that someone insulted you, and try not to think about it for the rest of the day. d) You don’t let anyone get away with insulting you, they have to pay…


) 10) Your girlfriend breaks up with you. a) You’re devastated, and you mope around for days without eating or going to class. b) You try to be positive, saying that you’re glad you found out now that she was cheating on you. c) You go out and try to find a new girlfriend.

d) You become a recluse and never leave your room again.

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) 11) Your professor has asked you to stay after class. a) You attempt to ask her out before she can say anything, because you think she’s pretty. b) You try to make a wisecrack, because you have no reason to be worried. c) You wonder if you missed an assignment, and try to remember if you handed it in.

d) You don’t have too much homework this period, so you take the opportunity to lay down and take a nap.

Sources & references used in this article:

Enhancing the self-esteem of youth swimmers through coach training: Gender and age effects by JD Coatsworth, DE Conroy – Psychology of sport and exercise, 2006 – Elsevier

Enhancement of children’s self-esteem through social support training for youth sport coaches. by FL Smoll, RE Smith, NP Barnett… – Journal of applied …, 1993 – psycnet.apa.org

“IF YOU LET ME PLAY SPORTS” How Might Sport Participation Influence the Self‐Esteem of Adolescent Females? by EL Richman, DR Shaffer – Psychology of Women Quarterly, 2000 – Wiley Online Library

Associations among adolescent risk behaviours and self‐esteem in six domains by LG Wild, AJ Flisher, A Bhana… – Journal of child …, 2004 – Wiley Online Library

Coach effectiveness training: A cognitive-behavioral approach to enhancing relationship skills in youth sport coaches by RE Smith, FL Smoll, B Curtis – Journal of Sport and …, 1979 – journals.humankinetics.com

The link between children’s sport participation and self-esteem: Exploring the mediating role of sport self-concept by CB Slutzky, SD Simpkins – Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 2009 – Elsevier

Self-esteem and children’s reactions to youth sport coaching behaviors: A field study of self-enhancement processes. by RE Smith, FL Smoll – Developmental psychology, 1990 – psycnet.apa.org

An examination of perfectionism and self-esteem in intercollegiate athletes. by JK Gotwals, JGH Dunn… – Journal of Sport …, 2003 – search.ebscohost.com

Self-concepts of disabled youth athletes by C Sherrill, M Hinson, B Gench… – … and motor skills, 1990 – journals.sagepub.com