Does your child lack confidence?
If you have been around minor hockey for any length of time you have heard the word “confidence” thrown around like it was a magical fix-all that would correct any problems that any player may have.
“If only they were more confident…..”
“It’s their confidence that is holding them back.”
I’m going to suggest to you that confidence is just a by-product of a much more important trait, resilience.
You don’t acquire confidence by succeeding. You acquire it by failing over and over again until you get it right. Without resilience there is no confidence, just the illusion of it.
A player who is never put in a position that challenges them; that causes them to fail only has the illusion of confidence. When times get tough and things don’t go their way they have no experience to call upon. They don’t know how to push through the mistakes, to revel in them and get better. All they know is that something that once worked well, now doesn’t. Frustration sets in and the illusion of confidence shatters.
Resilience is the key. A player who is willing to fail 100 times to get it right will ultimately be confident. Creating resilience is hard work and that is why most players never acquire it. It’s easier to play on an iPad than to take 200 shots a night. Athletes without a clear plan (and many with a plan) will, like water, flow through the easiest course.
Players who are scared of making mistakes will never build resilience. Coaches and parents, the next time you have “the chat” with a young athlete instead of giving them the gears for making a mistake, praise them for it. Ask them what they learned and how they will improve on it next time. Open up the discussion and you will be amazed by the answers that they have.
“It was exciting to see you try that play / pass / move. It didn’t work out, but how would you make it better next time?”
I guarantee that this process works. Help the athlete find the space outside of their comfort zone, applaud the mistakes, talk about how they could be solved and watch the player soar.