How To Increase Confidence In Youth Athletes

The Role of Confidence In Youth, and How Strength Training Can Help

By Shannon McDougall 

Children begin to distinguish themselves as early as 2-3 months old. Negative self perception begins to occur as youth begin comparing themselves to others in their environment in the school yard, on the sports field and from what they see in the media.

There are so many influences that can effect the confidence of youth which makes it important for us to give them as many ways to build that confidence as we can. For this reason, strength training is not only a benefit for the athletic development of youth, but also their psychological development as well.

How Resistance Training Can Increase Confidence In Youth

One of the bi-products of strength training is that youth may also be more likely to participate in sports as they will feel competent and athletic. Athletic abilities such as coordination are developed for participants of all ages in addition to a body awareness that non athletes often have difficulty with. In youth, confidence comes with knowing what their young bodies are capable of, and what their potential might be with regard to strength and conditioning.

A young athlete who is new to a sport will begin with a level of perceived ability simply by the strength training activities they have already been participating in. This will put them in a good position for success as they will push themselves harder and still feel good about the end results.

Youth who try out for sports teams begin with a level of perceived incompetence. With strength training, if done safely and progressively and using correct developmental guidelines, youth will have an advantage.

How Youth Strength Training Can Help Day to Day Life

There are also effects that we might not consider a part of being an athlete that can be useful in the day to day environment of youth. Most of us are familiar with undesirable events such as bullying at various levels that can be experienced by youth in the playground. A young student that has taken part in a strength training program, regardless of the level, may have more confidence than the average student to deflect this type of behavior from fellow students.

Even better, is their potential psychological ability to support other students who may feel afraid or be experiencing this type of activity.

Many youth do not distinguish strength as only being physical or only being psychological.  This can give the perception that being strong physically has the potential to make them feel strong psychologically. An athletic body composition or ratio between fat and muscle, gives youth and adults a level of confidence and self esteem that can overcome many psychological challenges because the individual is almost beginning their day with a head start because they feel so good.

Confidence and Self Esteem Make Better Lives

Feeling strong and confident can also enhance a youths ability to make decisions and take risks that may have the potential to compromise their self esteem. Feeling able to try out for a sports team or audition for a school play, and even more importantly, make good decisions about their own activities without being afraid of the results is something that every youth and adult should possess.

So often individuals of all ages are afraid of failure or rejection, so they stay away from situations that can create those feelings.

We have internal and external influences on self esteem and confidence. If we feel strong and good inside, it is much more difficult for an external event to have a negative effect on us. Youth encounter an enormous amount of experiences in their day to day life, many of which are new to them. With the confidence that can come with strength training, their ability to handle those experiences well is enhanced. 

Strength training is a great way to inspire confidence in youth, and make them feel better about themselves every day.  

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