“The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease for ever to be able to do it.”
― J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan
Confidence, even more so than shooting, ball-handling, or any other developmental basketball attribute, is the #1 term that comes up on virtually every call that I have with parents the first time I speak with them about their children’s basketball development. This surprised me at first. But it really does make sense. Having played and taught basketball the majority of my life, I can say with sincerity that confidence is in fact a skill that can be learned and ingrained over time -- I experienced a significant lack of confidence the first time I played on a high-quality AAU basketball team in inner-city Houston!
Like any good recipe, there is a mixture of things that contribute to greatness in any pursuit. In sports, things like quickness, strength, and coordination are main ingredients, but by no means the only ingredients. If quickness, strength, and coordination are the beef in any beef stew then confidence is the broth. The broth, while not particularly glamorous, forms the foundation for beef stew the same way that confidence forms the foundation for all greatness in any pursuit. But before I get everybody running to the refrigerator, let's get into it!
Below is a list of some things to think about when cultivating your child’s confidence:
Positive encouragement – While some players respond well to negative encouragement, positive encouragement is a much stronger catalyst for instilling confidence.
Preparation – One the most significant contributors to the lack of confidence in most players the fear of the unknown. To combat this matter, do whatever you can to prepare your child for the upcoming event in the form of game-speed drills and simulations so he/she is prepared when the real game starts.
Resistance training – Make sure your child is stepping out of his/her comfort zone from time to time. This will not only help with overall social skills, but will also give your child the confidence to step up when he or she is called upon to do so in the big game.
Confident influence – One of the best ways to teach confidence is to be a model of confidence. Make it a point to serve as a confident role model for your child and I assure you that he or she will notice!
I have been striving to instill confidence in all of my players of the past 10 years. Should you have any follow-up questions or comments please let me know!
Be confident and don’t forget the broth!