Player confidence


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    Mike CC

    A player of mine seems low in confidence. He’s missed three good opportunities in big matches for us and we’ve ended up losing. Games are really tough in this league. Anything I can do to help him?

    Kat Nichols

    Hey Mike,

    I am was in a situation with one of my players. Come to find out she was receiving a lot of outside pressure from parents to be the leading goal scorer and she felt as if she did not score she not only was letting her team down but felt like she was going to get in trouble as soon as she got in the car after a game. I’ve come to learn that my players do not really talk about the outside pressure they are feeling they just kind of hold it in then when things like missing good chance come into play their confidence drops. What has worked for me is pulling a player aside and talking with them one on one about things going on. Asking them what they need from me to help them, how can i support them better, and see what is really going on and help them try and work through it. For my player I actually ended up moving her position (from the 9 to the 7) and giving her 3 things to focus on before every game and slowly her confidence has started to rebuild, then I moved her slowly back into her normal place still giving her 3 things to focus on doing during games, it has seemed to be working.

    Tom Bates

    Hi Mike, it’s a really great question this and it looks like our fantastic course ambassador Kat Nichols has pretty much covered the main points. Looking at Kats response here, notice the first thing she does is getting to work on ‘seeing the world through the eyes of the player’ looking at the bigger picture. In addition, she’s asks the question ‘what are the additional variables that might influence and impact the players mindset and outlook’? Parents, Education, Peer Groups, fear of judgement, poor coach / athlete relationship etc.

    Three key points from me here in summary:

    – See the world through the eyes of the player – be a good listener
    – Look at the bigger picture
    – Reward effort over outcome and focus on praising the process goals

    A little story to finish:

    Before every match Dan Marino the famous All American NFL player at 8 years old found a note from his parents in his boot bag. It was a simple but powerful message from mum and dad: “remember win or lose, we still love you”.

    Steve Davis

    Hello Mike,

    I’ll add a little to Tom and Kat’s terrific responses. How old is your player? Have you asked the player how he’s feeling? What he’s feeling? And what you can do to help him? Listening to understand the players developmental needs and goals will not only help establish a solid coach-player relationship, it will enable you to have a far better knowledge of what the player likes, dislikes, needs, and how you can deliver it for him. Too often when we coach, we project onto our players what we would like to see, but without checking for understanding we’ll never know if our message is being delivered which means it’s less likely to be applied on game day.

    Confidence is influenced by past performances, and training is part of that. Can you provide him with successful experiences in training? It’s also worth noting that confidence is influenced by social comparison, so if he is measuring himself against a teammate, an opponent, or the expectations of others, it’s important that he comes up with action steps to address his own realistic personal expectations that you can help him with. Understanding what sources of information work for your player(s) to enhance confidence will help greatly.

    You mentioned that he missed big chances and the team ended up losing. How has that message been delivered to him and the team? Does he feel the team lost because of his missed chances? Does the team feel it’s his fault? Being able to attribute success and failure in appropriate ways where no single players feels they are to blame for a loss is critical. Identifying effort, performance, and attitude as productive actions will likely see the players confidence increase.

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