(Written by Edgar Chekera, @psych_chek)
One of the most sought out skills in life, whether it is in sport, education, or work, is confidence. Specifically, being confident in your ability to perform a certain skill in sport will help increase the performance of the skill.
Despite this being obvious, less is known about how to actually increase this confidence. It is important for children to start developing confidence in their ability to perform a skill as they will use the same strategies to increase confidence in later life.
We have many sources that increase this confidence, and these should be used when children engage in physical activity.
What are the sources of confidence?
The most influential source is whether the child believes their previous performance of the skill was successful or not. It is important to encourage children to think of times they performed the skill well due to their own effort, and that it can be done again.
Another source is watching another person perform the skill well, whether it’s from a parent, teacher or another child. The child can also be shown someone who initially had difficulty performing the skill, but through practice they mastered the skill.
Reassuring children that the skill can be mastered is a source of confidence. By encouraging the children, e.g. “yes you can do it, I believe in you”, will persuade them to start believing in themselves and their ability to perform the skill.
Finally, it’s important for children to understand that feeling highly excited and nervous is a good thing. Mentioning that these feelings mean they are ready to perform the skill, and their favourite performers experience this but and still perform well, will increase their confidence.
Through addressing these sources children’s confidence in skill execution can be increased.