Parents should be a “Support Zone” for their children to help cultivate confidence

By Maurice Tanel

OUT of the BLUE is a blog that provides insight and related resource information into all 5 Performance Components that are required for a goalies continued development within the TSO Crease Control Training System.

Maurice (MOE) Tanel is the Program Director and Goals & Performance Coach of TEAM Shutout Goalie School. For further information on this or any other questions you may have please feel free to contact him by email at [email protected]

The Mental Game: Confidence is an essential component of performance and we see numerous examples of how the impact of pressure can negatively affect an athlete’s practice and game performance in all levels of sports. It is an athlete’s inability to deal with pressure that will erode confidence and negatively influence performance.

During the developing years of a young athlete, this pressure will not only affect game and practice performance but will remove the passion to play the game and, as statistics show, a large percentage will quit the game by age 13.

Young developing athletes face challenges from many different sources and all can feed the negative emotion known as “Fear of Failure”. This emotional state of mind can be manifested by situations such as:

• Failing to meet the expectations of coaches and peers
• Disappointment because of circumstances within the hockey system
• Unrealistic labels (I am too small)
• Unrealistic high self-expectations
• Constant parental criticism which is result oriented

Whatever the source of the challenges, it’s important that young athletes receive the support that will help them understand and manage the pressure.

A very important role as a hockey parent is to create a “support zone” environment that will nurture your child’s ability to manage pressure. This is not to be misinterpreted as a protective bubble but an atmosphere that is free of game result “opinions” and fundamental/strategy performance “analysis”. The support zone should be perceived by your son or daughter as an environment, provided by you, that offers positive feedback and encouragement and will create a setting that will cultivate your child’s passion to play. When an athlete’s passion to play is strong, their ability to handle pressure will be stronger.

Just a few ways that parents can promote confidence and reduce fear of failure:

• Encourage pre game conversation that promotes how your son’s/daughter’s practice preparation has them ready to play.
• Post game conversation should consist of reinforcing the positive parts of your son/daughter game performance.
• Teach your child that any realistic underachievement (“failure”) is an important part of learning and that any negative results should be used to set short-term goals for future training sessions in order to improve their game execution.
• Have your child focus on their training “process” as a measureable gauge of their development and not their game “results” as the primary confidence builder.
• Help them enjoy the wins by leaving out the analysis and put the losses behind them by helping them get ready for the next training session.
• Learn to shield your paranoid feelings and prevent them from being transmitted through a nervous anxiety that can negatively impact your child’s state of mind.
• Control your negative energy and guard against allowing those emotions to carry over into post game analysis.

By employing this approach, parents will demonstrate the leadership that will give their children permission to focus on the positives of the “personal progression process” and not the negative “game results”. Parents need to encourage their children not to be afraid of failure and accept it as a learning tool. By cultivating this mindset you will help facilitate how they deal with pressure and make the game enjoyable.

Always remember…it really feels good to get encouragement from someone who is important in your life…and you are important in your child’s life.

If you are interested in 10 Tips for parents to help improve the confidence of your son or daughters training and game performance just go to the Team Shutout Goalie School Facebook page and click “like” and I will send you a pdf document titled;

10 Tips to improve Confidence and Success in Young Athletes written by Dr. Patrick J. Cohn, PHD

For information on our Personal Progression Program that will start a platform towards confidence, contact Maurice Tanel; Program Director and Personal Progression Coach by sending an e-mail to [email protected]