Developing Confidence?

Hey All,

I've been researching, thinking, and even writing lately about confidence and how to develop it in our kids.  

I wanted to throw this topic out to the forum and get some feedback on how you develop confidence in your kids/players?

When he's slumping, what's your strategy?

We all know that eventually, our kids are going to hit a skid....  I want to give my son the tools he needs to be ready for it.

Input and feedback is much appreciated.

Original Post

I'll be honest, my husband wants to talk about it. A lot. I tend to sort of say "well, that didn't go as well as usual" and then ask very practical questions — what's for lunch, what time is batting practice tomorrow--and otherwise sit quietly. When he's ready, he'll talk about it.

I don't think there's a one size fits all solution for kids. Everyone handles success, and struggles, differently. My goal is to leave my kid room to learn the best way for him to handle it, because the way I try to help him to, or my husband tries to help him to, is our way, not his.

 

S. Young, I love this topic.  As a parent, I always feel helpless when he struggles.  He's 16 now so much more mature and able to cope with a slump.  I do remember a couple of things that helped him:

1) He had a terrific travel coach when he was aged 10-13 who told him something I've heard many times since: Baseball is a game of failure.  If you succeed 1 in 3 times you're doing very well.  His coach also told him that he didn't have to carry the team on his shoulders every game.

2) The only thing I ever said that made him feel better was that he only spent a small percentage of the time in a slump and if he's doing pretty well 85-90% of the time, then he needs to take that feeling of doing well into the next at-bat and not give in to the fear.  But he had to experience a few slumps before he could logically understand that.

I would love to hear other people's perspectives on this too, especially as their son grew older. 

Iowamom23 posted:

I'll be honest, my husband wants to talk about it. A lot. I tend to sort of say "well, that didn't go as well as usual" and then ask very practical questions — what's for lunch, what time is batting practice tomorrow--and otherwise sit quietly. When he's ready, he'll talk about it.

I don't think there's a one size fits all solution for kids. Everyone handles success, and struggles, differently. My goal is to leave my kid room to learn the best way for him to handle it, because the way I try to help him to, or my husband tries to help him to, is our way, not his.

 

Amen to the husband "help" IowaMom!

Midwest Mom posted:

1) He had a terrific travel coach when he was aged 10-13 who told him something I've heard many times since: Baseball is a game of failure.  If you succeed 1 in 3 times you're doing very well.  His coach also told him that he didn't have to carry the team on his shoulders every game.

 

My son's travel coach is probably the closest to him in terms of understanding his thinking when he plays. One game son stunk up the place pretty bad, coach went out, they chatted, then son started pitching better. I asked son what the coach had said to help him turn things around.

Son said, "he came out and said Duncan, you suck. I don't know what to tell you, but fix it."

And suddenly i feel like my son needs a hug for all the horrible things we put him through over the years.

But it is a true story, and it worked for him.

Iowamom23 posted:
Midwest Mom posted:

1) He had a terrific travel coach when he was aged 10-13 who told him something I've heard many times since: Baseball is a game of failure.  If you succeed 1 in 3 times you're doing very well.  His coach also told him that he didn't have to carry the team on his shoulders every game.

 

My son's travel coach is probably the closest to him in terms of understanding his thinking when he plays. One game son stunk up the place pretty bad, coach went out, they chatted, then son started pitching better. I asked son what the coach had said to help him turn things around.

Son said, "he came out and said Duncan, you suck. I don't know what to tell you, but fix it."

And suddenly i feel like my son needs a hug for all the horrible things we put him through over the years.

But it is a true story, and it worked for him.

Love that story IowaMom!

Anytime my son overcomes a struggle, usually in baseball but also in other areas, he typically communicates that to me via text. I always try to remember to screenshot those exchanges. The next time he's having a problem with something similar, I send those screenshots to him. Even if it's not a specific solution to his problem (like how to hit a baseball), it's a reminder to him that he'll get through it.

So, making him do jumping jacks blind-folded and barefoot while I dump a bag of Legos on the ground at his feet is not an approved method? I could have sworn I read that somewhere...definitely takes his mind off of the struggle.

In all seriousness, I'll ask him if he wants to know what I saw in his mechanics or if he already knows/wants to work through it himself...and I'll respect his answer (this is difficult sometimes!!!). He develops confidence in himself by working through it, of course, but also when he does ask for my observations and is able to be self-aware enough to recognize how his body felt and connecting it to the results obtained. I have always stressed the importance of body-awareness as a means of self-correction, so for example if I tell him that he's arm-barring, he'll think back to the at-bat and remember in hindsight that he felt his shoulder flying open too early. I try to make him figure out the problem when I point out a symptom (rather than just correcting the symptom). Once he became aware enough of things, he became much more confident because he knew what to fix, and was able to be more self-reliant. It really made his solo tee-work a LOT more productive.

-42

I have two kids with two different personalities. They both played college baseball/softball.

When my son was eleven we had just switched leagues. All eyes were on him. He was expected to be a diffference maker in all stars. One game he made three errors. On he way to the car he commented he stunk today. I asked him if he wanted to get in some practice tomorrow. He responded, “I’m good. I just stunk today. I’ll be fine.” He knew he was supposed to be the best.

My daughter was not only a physical late bloomer. She was a talent late bloomer. I don’t think I ever heard anyone say so often, “I have to be better tomorrow.”

I never once had to drag these kids to a field/court for practice in any sport. It was built into them to become the best they could be. Maybe it came from the work ethic, effort and attitude they saw from parents. They never had to be taught confidence. They constantly drove themselves to be better. Confidence comes from being prepared. 

It's awesome to read everyone's experience in this whole "confidence building" experience with your kids.

Some takeaways thus far for me:

1. Confidence building is both art and science.  There is a perspective one needs to have to play this game but as some of you guys shared your unique experiences, every kid is wired differently.  Some need a kick in the butt (i.e. "You suck... fix it"), others need reminders that they'll get through it.

2.  Confidence has much to do with a coach or parent's ability to redirect focus.  When kids put too much weight on results, we have to remind them what's truly important...  

I remember researching this topic of confidence building and coming across sport psychologist, Dr. Goldberg (https://www.competitivedge.com/), and in one of his blogs I read he talked about how kids don't struggle because of lack of focus or effort, they struggle because they're focusing on the wrong thing or putting their efforts in the wrong direction.

All of you who have shared, essentially, have talked about how you or a quality coach has been instrumental in redirecting focus and energy to that which truly matters.

Good stuff, folks!

Again, appreciate the feedback!

This one actually made me stop and relive my experiences son.  Most of his confidence was innate, something he was born with.  From when he was maybe 5 or 6 he hated to fail.  When he did he just worked harder to fix it.  His personal baseball instructor taught him so much about the game.  Not just the mechanics of swinging/pitching but how to become a student of the game.  I am positive in my son's experiences this was the most important part of baseball in high school, D1, and MiLB so far.  I myself was very hesitant to mention things about confidence, execution, etc.  Last thing I wanted to do was introduce another person's viewpoint (myself) into that crowded head of his.  He knows what is happening and what must be done to correct it.  He knows much more than my 2 cents worth.  I did give him the opportunity to get things off his chest many times. I became a great listener and question prodder.  Though he never came out and said it, frequently by him just talking about slumps, errors, executions he came to some kind of resolution on his own.  I learned that if I tell him things he won't listen, whereas if an outsider such as a coach or instructor says the exact same thing it means much more.  Part of life being a dad lol.

S.Young posted:

Trust In Him,

How old was your son when you got a personal instructor to help your son his game?

 

He was 8 years old. Basically he made an all star travel team but he only played maybe 30% of the time.  2 games (out of maybe 12) he never got in.  After it was over he asked me why he didn't get to play much.  Did it at first just so he can keep up with better players.  Went through 3 different instructors in maybe 8 months before finding the right fit.  He still takes lessons when in town.  PM me if you want more details.  Good luck

My son recently started working with a phenomenal pitching coach who spends a lot of time talking and working with my son on the mental side of the game. It all revolves around "focusing on the process, not the outcome." It has worked wonders for son's baseball performance. It has also been very helpful for Dad as well!  Not only am I redirecting my focus (from outcome to process) but I am exposing all of my high school students and athletes to this philosophy as well.

As we all know, baseball is a game of failure and there are so many things outside of a players control. Are there some players who just need a good ole swift kick to the behind (figuratively speaking), definitely! However, how many times have we seen the player who works his tail off...first one to practice...last one to leave...go into a slump at the plate, in the field, or on the mound? It is going to happen to every one of them at some point during their baseball career. Helping players to understand that they are not always going to be able to control the outcome but can always control the process, is a great philosphy to introduce as soon as they are old enough to understand and implement.

Here is a great article that does a much better job of explaining this philosophy. I cannot stress enough how important this can be for young baseball players, if implemented correctly.

http://www.samuelthomasdavies.com/nick-saban-process/

Slumps and failures themselves have been the best forms of character development, including confidence, with both my sons.  As a parent it’s hard to watch the struggle, but when they do come out of it, oh the growth that occurs! I think mostly what I said during the struggle was my belief in them to overcome and that if they needed help getting thru it I’d help them or find someone who could help.  It’s funny how they handled the struggles sometimes better than I did as a parent watching it.

Add Reply

Likes (1)
Midwest Mom
×
×
×
×