Fixing Soccer Confidence Problems – Part 1

“My child lacks confidence in games”

Parents tell me this all the time and hope I can fix it for them.

Fortunately, there is an easy way to dramatically improve confidence in a youth soccer player!

The secret is simple but often overlooked.

But  before I give you the answer to the “confidence problem”, I want you to remember back to when your child was learning to ride a bike.

You could clearly see that he was riding on the 2-wheels and the training wheels were no longer needed but what was his reaction when you offered to remove the training wheels?

“Nooooooo” …he was scared because he lacked “confidence”.

Like most good parents (fathers anyhow), we’re really good at lying to our kids to trick them into doing things that they do not want to do.

So naturally, you told him, “I’ll hold onto the seat and run along with you so you can’t fall”.

But we never do, we always let go and the kids just ride on their own.

Getting them to just go on their own is the next challenge because they still lack “confidence” so they hesitate, they don’t commit and often fall over because they start off too slowly.

If they fall over a few times too many, they’ll refuse to try again and ask for the training wheels or insist you help them each time they want to ride.

After enough repetition, kids never hesitate. They hop on the bike and just go without even thinking about the mechanics necessary to start, balance and ride the bike.

They didn’t need to “visualize” or hire a counselor to help them mentally, they just needed enough repetition to master the skill to a level where they stopped thinking about the low level mechanics and focused on speed, cornering, riding with no hands, doing “wheelies” and hopping curbs.

It’s the exact same thing for kids in soccer.

In almost every case, there is no “lack of confidence”.

There’s a lack of “skill”.

This lack of skill leads to fear.

 ~ Fear of a bad 1st touch.

 ~ Fear of not being able to evade a defender.

 ~ Fear of always losing the ball.

Soon they do not actually want the ball and subconsciously find ways to avoid the ball I.e. not working to get open or passing the ball as soon as they get the ball.

This is “mental”, but it starts with “physical”.

When your child is lacking confidence on the soccer field, the 1st thing you need to do is improve their technical skills and you will see a dramatic jump in their game confidence.

They need to stop “thinking” about performing the low level mechanics of managing the ball so they can focus on the tactical and strategic aspects of the game.

Confidence is less “mental” and more “physical so focus on this first and you’ll see a dramatic difference quickly”.