Setting Attainable Goals and Celebrating Success

Success in youth sports is widely subjective. Every athlete on your child’s little league, pop warner, or juniors team is at a different stage in their growth. Competition is often lopsided, but the season doesn’t have to be all about winning. The best part about youth sports is the opportunity for athletes to learn about and develop mental skills. By helping your athlete set attainable goals throughout their season, it will become easier for you to support them along the way. It will ensure that the upcoming season is a positive experience.

Teaching your athlete to break down big-picture goals into smaller, achievable steps will help them to appreciate the little things. In turn, it will offer them greater opportunity to reach their bigger goals. Every at-bat, free throw, and shot on goal presents an opportunity to win. Every single win is a chance to celebrate!

Make progress towards goals by simplifying the steps to achieve them

Identify something in your child’s game that they are struggling with, and help them to focus on doing better at that one thing on game day. This can alleviate the pressure of the whole game for them, and make small victories more easily identifiable for parents.

Breaking down goals into those achievable steps is easier said than done, but creating a plan of action will make it possible. Talk through the struggles in their game, how they feel when those things show up during games or practice, and work on creating a clear and decisive mental approach to those specific elements of their sport.

Work with your athlete to simplify challenges and they will learn to better overcome failure. This will be a great tool for them as they continue through their athletic career and transition into life after sports!

Balance goal setting, encouragement, and constructive feedback

Encourage your child to track progress toward goals and you will create the potential for more persistent positivity. If they are struggling with their basketball shot, find an area on the floor that they feel confident from and encourage them to take more shots from there. As they rack up more points, their confidence to shoot from elsewhere on the court will grow. You can then adjust tracking goals into hitting a certain amount of buckets from a different spot. Celebrate once they hit a single shot that they’ve struggled with previously in games. Even if they missed every other shot they took that day, it’s important to notice the one they did hit. That means they have potential to make more!

There is no simple answer to fixing an athlete’s game or developing their confidence, but by setting attainable goals, tracking progress towards them, and celebrating small victories along the way, you can help encourage your child to develop perseverance and to reflect on their accomplishments. These are two of the biggest steps to finding overall success in youth sports.


Goals for success

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