Developing Confidence in Young Players

This weeks post is inspired by a post from our Soccer Conditioning Expert, Scott Moody with Soccer FIT. He talks about the spiral that occurs as a result of a player either being confident or lacking confidence. Players that lack confidence will also lack motivation, be more reluctant to try and as a result have perform low level of skill. This will confirm the players lack of confidence and the spiral continues. But we, as coaches, can turn this spiral in the opposite direction by encouraging them to attempt a small part of the skill, praise them when they are successful and then use small stepping stones to move them toward the complete skill.

This progress training method is not new to most coaches but relating it specifically to the confidence of the player may be a facet that some may not have thought of. As a coach of young players it certainly struck a cord with me. I'm responsible for helping to develop the confidence in eight and nine year olds that will drive them to achieve or drive them away from the game depending on how I approach my task.

Below is the complete post.

Motivation, confidence, skill and talent are all interconnected, and are especially important at a young age. Children with low confidence tend to lack motivation. This lack of motivation leads to a reluctance to try and a lack of effort. Lack of focused effort leads to lower skill and low skill usually leads to a lack of confidence…the downward spiral (pictured here) has started. But let’s flip this around…screen-capture-3

If we can connect with the child at a young age, and put them in an environment where failure is not feared, an environment that celebrates risk, encourages reaching and uses small stepping stones of skill mastery to build confidence, then we might be able to increase motivation. If we increase motivation, the child will be more willing to try new things, accept challenges and think outside the box.

This willingness to try goes hand in hand with increase effort, and if we fill our rosters and facilities with motivated, creative, willing children that give 100%, and then we focus our approach on attainable milestones, we will develop skill. We will develop creative, fearless skill. We will develop young people that don’t fear failure, but in fact embrace it as an opportunity to learn.

Today, try and connect on an emotional level with your players. And if you are working with players in the 6-10 year old age group, realize that they are motivated more by feelings. How you make them “feel” about themselves is directly proportionate to their motivation to try, their effort to develop skill, and ultimately their confidence. Are you doing everything you can to make an impact on their lives?



 Scott Moody is one of the authors of Soccer Conditioning Monthly. It's a great resource for videos and descriptions of functional activities that increase the strength, speed and fitness of your players. Click the link below for more information.

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Have a Great Day!


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