A couple of days ago, I was training two sisters. The two sisters could not have been any more different. Not different in appearance or skill level, but in confidence. One sister was in control, exhibiting control, and confidence in every pitch she threw. The other sister was just the opposite, no confidence in her skill level or in herself. I see this quite often in my practice, so I set out to find out why some girls have an over abundance of confidence and why others struggle in this area.

Confidence Starts Early In Childhood

It turns out that the process of becoming  confident starts early in childhood. I’ll make no bones about it, boys and girls are wired a little bit different. Boys are naturally risk takers, while the girls are more in generating harmony within the group and keep conflict to a minimum.  It is at this point, where the girls are at a big disadvantage. That disadvantage is having the ability to take on risks and facing failure. This process is a big building block for creating confidence.

Everyone Gets A Participation Trophy 

I am probably going to ruffle some feathers here, but the “Everyone Gets A Participation Trophy” is probably doing more harm to your daughter than helping her. What risk was taken to warrant a Participation Trophy? None… Don’t get me wrong, having your daughter involved in some type of sports activity is great. Getting an award for just showing up; however,  is not going to get your daughter on the road to Confidenceville.

Risk And Failure

I believe that one of the biggest mistakes that parents are making today is protecting their kids from failure.

There are so many girls who want to be successful on the field. Success is defined differently for each individual girl, team and coach. Some girls are driven by statistics. Some girls are driven by playing time and others just are happy to be a part of the team. One of the main parts of success is having confidence within you.  It is believing you can and will do it. Confidence by definition; the feeling or belief that one can rely on someone or something; firm trust. Without confidence, one’s talent and skill set can be altered.

As a young softball player growing up I was surrounded by confident people. People who believed in themselves and who believed in me. When I had doubt about anything, I had a friend or family member telling me that I could do it. Sometimes I didn’t believe them but as I continued to try I finally realized I could accomplish the task at hand and became successful. Without the support of my friends and family I wouldn’t of been able to meet my potential and likely wouldn’t of been as successful as I was at softball.

It is important for all young women to be surrounded by supportive parents, friends and coaches. This new generation is surrounded by more negative feedback than positive feedback. I feel like I see more coaches yelling, “what are you doing?” than, “You can do this, believe in yourself.” I think if parents and coaches took a step back and encouraged more than reprimanded we might actually have more successful at bats, less errors or more shut outs. The number one thing I hear from my students is, “My coach doesn’t think I’m good enough.” GAME OVER! If your player doesn’t think you believe in her, she will never meet her potential.

The thing with most girls is they are harder on themselves than anyone else could be. Most girls are used to people nit picking at the way the look or how they do something. What do you think they do in their head when they make an error and you rip them a new one? As a coach now, I see more success in a positive, negative positive approach. This approach helps keep their confidence high but let them understand what error was made. For example: “Hey, you got to the ball really fast but you could of got their faster if you didn’t run with your glove in the air like we practiced on Wednesday. Think of how fast you would get there if you had your glove down. Crazy! You will be there in no time.” This approach also helps coaches take the time to calm down and not overreact to the error or mistake made on the field.

As a coach and parent we need to care about their confidence level. We need to see and read their body language and understand when they need a little pick me up. Incorporating the positive negative positive approach will help the player understand in a positive way and the coach will be able to express his or her frustrations in a professional and calm manner. Confidence is a key component to success. Make sure your players and  team have it!

If you have any comments or suggestions on this article, please send me an email at margo@hurdtu.com. Also if you would like to receive the weekly edition of “Full Circle With Margo” just CLICK HERE!!!!

Parents, no one wants your daughter to improve at either hitting or pitching like you do. To get started, you first need to know where her current skills are. This is where to start, HurdtU Softballytics. For more information: CLICK HERE!!!!.

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