How Parents Can Help Player Confidence?
By Mike Reilly, Fusion West Director
When asked to submit an article for the next Fusion newsletter, I recalled some research I did for a presentation to our coaches and how the same information may be helpful to our soccer parents. I began researching player confidence and the role it has on player development and progress.
Our Fusion philosophy on player development exists in four quadrants — technical, tactical, physical and social emotional. Player confidence would obviously fall into the social emotional quadrant and for many coaches is the most challenging to improve and impact in a positive manner.
We know that it is much easier to teach and improve the more tangible sides of the game such as technical acquisition (evaluated by skills testing), tactical knowledge (evaluated by performance film analysis on decision making) physicality by measuring strength, speed, coordination, etc. So, the social-emotional aspect, often referred to as mentality is much more difficult to measure and improve.
Another philosophy we have with our curriculum is to utilize evidence and research from many different sources. What I was able to find made much sense to me and was based on years of research from several renowned sports psychologists. Without getting into too much detail or complexity I will share a simple formula with you and some key tips that may help you with your son or daughter’s development in the social-emotional aspect of soccer with potential cross over to everyday life.
Self confidence = self belief x amount of evidence
Evidence in this case is the amount of successful executions (determined by the player/parent/coach/club philosophy).
Another important aspect of being confident is the feeling of preparedness or readiness. Look into your own lives and remember how you may have had no confidence sitting for an exam if you did not study or prepare enough. Preparation in soccer (the coach’s job) addresses improving the three quadrants that will have an impact on the fourth quadrant — social-emotional — and in this case the sub group of player confidence.
We also know that “evidence “ learned through doing or action is more permanently learned than by just hearing or seeing. It’s our coaches’ job to make corrections for proper executions to take place in an active environment such as training and games. As parents you can reinforce this by encouraging your soccer players to train on their own and increase the number of touches on the ball per week. The more skill they have elevates potential for successful skillful executions in competition.
Here are five key things parents can do that we also ask our coaches to do on a regular basis
- Create opportunities for “learning by doing”
- Create problem-solving situations and catch them being successful and let them know you see their success
- Find out what standards your child has set for themselves. What is the culture? What is the training environment? What expectations do they have for themselves. As parents you know the kids better than anyone and you can have impactful conversations with them and actively support their experience. Help them make adjustments after both positive and adverse situations occur. If it is too easy, challenge them to do more or with greater intensity
- Empower players to be accountable, involved and leaders through daily responsibilities at home and with their soccer. (i.e. If they forget their cleats for training don’t drive back home to get them). Make them sit out and watch and hopefully it will be the last time they forget important equipment
- Talk to your player about reachable goals or targets and how to re-set new goals when they underachieve. Remind them that success is a moving target and their success is their own not someone else’s especially younger players who will develop at vastly different rates.