Being a mentor/Coach is so important in the youth community whether is through Coaching sports, volunteering, being a teacher or parent , kids look up to adults and young adults who are there for them in after school activities. What I learn throughout the years being a Coach is kids listen to you when you show them that you care about their well being not only being a Coach telling them what to do but listening to their ideas, suggestions and what is bothering them during the day. Show them you are more than a Coach and more like a mentor to them. Numerous of kids have the talent but lack the confidence to play their best during games. I bump into kids that I coach individually and all of the parents tell me they don’t have confidence in themselves during games but play well during practice.
You ask why does that happen? Well kids tend to get very anxious, nervous and scare during games because of the excitement, the opponents intimidation, scare to make mistakes during the game, not play well, not shooting well, not making their free-throws, making turnovers etc. They are plain scare of the moment presented in front of them. By the way its very normal for all kids to feel this way and to have the same fear during games. I had it as a young girl and I still have it as a Coach.
As a Coach its very important to build their confidence during practice by encouraging them “if you play like this during the games you will be fine”, practice as you are in the game already. Present them with game situation drills that will happen in real time that is the key to building their confidence. Play one on one games with them ( I usually play with them even though they beat me at times) that helps them to build courage, confidence and have fun at the same time. Push them to their limits and help them believe in themselves ( I can do this) Once they have practice one on one games with the Coach or other players every single week the fear goes away and they are ready to conquer the world and the game.
It takes a great motivator not a disciplinary for the kids to believe in you and believe in themselves.
I will see you at a court near you.