SCHEDULE ONE-TIME CLASS/GAME!      Call Now! 310-744-5403    
Approved Charter Schools Vendor
logoApproved Charter Schools Vendor

Our Blog - Your Source for Basketball Tips and News



Youth sports contribute significantly to a child’s lifelong confidence, as it gives athletes daily opportunities to overcome challenges, achieve success, and handle failures with resilience. It also helps young players develop their interpersonal skills. 

But there are times when young athletes struggle with low confidence and feel dispirited to play their favorite sport. They may feel unsettled, nervous, jittery, overly excited, or feel tremendous pressure to play their best. This often happens before or during an important match or tournament, but it can also emerge at a regular practice session.

Maintaining the right amount of confidence is key to playing a sport, performing well, and enjoying it. If your young athlete suffers from poor confidence, there are many solutions to help build them back up and love the game again. 

Here we bring you seven ways to boost your sports star’s confidence on and off the court.

Let’s dive in!


What Is Confidence?

Confidence is associated with many related terms that are used interchangeably. Here are some common terms that describe its different manifestations:


Self-confidence encompasses a person’s attitude toward their abilities. It is the belief that one possesses the skills to perform tasks, overcome obstacles, and achieve success. It leads to the ability to rely on oneself to handle any situation. 

Sports Confidence

Sports confidence is specific to athletes—they firmly believe they have developed the ability to perform well in their chosen sport, execute plays and moves successfully, and even win.

Perceived Competence

Perceived competence centers on a person’s perception of their abilities. It relates to people’s beliefs about what they can do with their skills and how they can use them to succeed.


Why Do Young Athletes Need To Build Confidence?

Building confidence in young athletes is crucial, as all the training in the world will not make a difference if they do not believe in themselves.

According to the self-efficacy theory, self-confidence impacts people’s thoughts, behaviors, and emotional responses in different situations. Confidence levels influence a young athlete’s behavior, actions, energy expenditure, persistence in challenging situations, and resilience when they face failure.

Young athletes with higher self-efficacy tend to enjoy stronger motivation while playing and achieve greater success in sports. Also, when they have high perceived competence, they participate in a high amount of physical activity—both in terms of quantity and intensity, so they are more likely to stick to their sport.

Confidence enables young athletes to thrive in their chosen sport and improves their mental game. They believe that they can overcome any challenge and achieve their goals. This affects their thoughts, behavior, and approach to the sport and helps them play and perform better.

Unlike highly professional athletes like Michael Jordan and LeBron James, young players lack the years of experience that they can draw upon to build their confidence. Confidence-building activities are designed to help them more effectively deal with high-pressure situations, difficult playing conditions, tougher opponents, and other hurdles.

In fact, confidence encourages young athletes to treat challenges as opportunities for growth and learning. It also motivates them to seek new challenges and find more thrill in them. They are also able to focus on the correct performance cues. 

When young athletes are confident, they don’t worry about or compare themselves to the competition.


What Happens When Young Athletes Have Low Confidence?

When young athletes lack confidence, they experience fear, doubt, worry, uncertainty, and anxiety. Their low confidence may also lead to a fear of embarrassment or making mistakes while playing.

They may compare themselves with other athletes at their basketball camp. They may focus on their weaknesses instead of their strengths, which further lowers their confidence. 

Some youth basketball players may also worry about failing the expectations of a private basketball coach or parent and letting them down.

These feelings impact young athletes mentally, emotionally, and physically. It goes on to affect other elements of their performance, such as their coordination skills and decision-making abilities. This, in turn, prevents them from playing at their best and causes them to underperform.

Poor performance may further damage their confidence and create a vicious circle of low confidence and performance issues that demoralize them and keep them from playing at all.


How To Build Your Young Athlete’s Confidence on and off the Court

Confidence in sports stems from a mix of training, preparation, and past performances. As your young athlete’s mastery of their skills grows, their self-esteem also improves.

If your sports star is lacking confidence, there are many handy solutions to address it.


Here are seven ways you can help your young athlete build confidence on and off the court:

1. Teach Them To Let Go of Fear

Many athletes in basketball leagues for youth worry about things beyond their control. They fear putting themselves on the spot and in the limelight and then failing in front of their peers, coaches, and even the audience.

They may give so much importance to the sport or their abilities that they focus too much on what others will think. Their fear or worry centers on delivering a poor performance on the court or not being good enough.

The first step to dealing with your young athlete’s fear is to identify and understand the things that are making them feel afraid of failure. You must help them shake away those attitudes or beliefs that support a fearful, overserious, or cautious approach to the sport, which can prevent them from performing at their best.

You must also encourage young athletes to focus on staying motivated and committed to the sport. A positive mindset—instead of giving in to fear—will do wonders for their confidence.

Encourage them to take up challenges they fear so they can deal with them in a healthy environment. This removes the mental block that keeps them from performing at their best. 

Facing their fears also gives their confidence a big boost and improves their performance on the basketball court.

2. Encourage Them To Play Freely Without Overthinking

In sports, two mindsets build mental toughness and contribute to success in the game.

One is the practice or training mindset. Professional athletes understand the value of training and strive to improve and get better at their game. They maintain a strong work ethic, are highly motivated, and practice hard to excel in their beloved sport.

The second mindset centers on performance and trust. It is equally crucial for achieving success in sports. Athletes develop certain skills through practice, and over time, they can trust their bodies to perform well without consciously directing their movements. 

The first mindset flows into the second—hours of practice will lead to more unrestrained performance, where an athlete can let their skills flow instinctively without overthinking each step.

Observe your young athlete and see if they are stuck in the training mindset and resist transitioning into the trusting mindset. Only adopting the former mentality will restrict their ability to perform. They will constantly be analyzing and trying too hard to be perfect, which can lead to a loss of trust in themselves and their abilities.

Encourage them to engage in free play and not hold back in their game. Trust their training, and their body will do the rest.

3. Avoid Comparisons

If your young athlete is new to the sport, they may start comparing themselves with other better players on the court. This can cause low self-esteem, poor confidence, and a lack of morale and motivation to play.

They may also feel intimidated by the sport, the level of competition, and even the presence of other athletes. Encourage them to focus on developing their skills and performance rather than paying attention to their more experienced teammates and opponents.

Your athlete must stop putting other players on a pedestal. They must recognize that all players start somewhere; instead, they should direct their energy and thoughts to improving their own game.

Help your athlete focus on their strengths and skills instead of thinking about how they stack up at the current level of play. Focusing on their training will be much more productive for their performance in the long term.

4. Get Them To Play Solely for Themselves

Many young athletes seek social approval to feel validated about their performance on the court. They rely too much on the opinions of others instead of trusting their own judgment, performance, and skills.

This is especially common among kids with low confidence—they seek validation from others because it boosts their self-worth. They buy into the notion that if other people love, respect, and acknowledge their performance, this will make them better athletes or better people.

Everyone else’s perceptions can become a huge source of worry and anxiety, which in turn affects how they play the game.

Make your young athlete understand they do not need to be liked, admired, or accepted by others. They have value on their own, and it’s best to play for themselves instead of others. It is easier said than done, but athletes will perform better if they stop worrying about what others think.

They must focus on their own strengths and limitations and work on them to become better players.

Moreover, help them stop judging themselves on their performance and separate their self-worth from how they play on the court.

5. Focus On Functional Play Rather Than Perfection

A fundamental lesson you must teach young athletes is to perform functionally instead of perfectly. A functional mindset involves knowing that they can function adequately without having to be perfect every time. They must accept that they will make mistakes along the way, learn from them, and move on.

Your young athlete must be able to take failures in stride and treat them as learning lessons instead of something to beat themselves up about. They must keep mistakes from affecting them negatively. This takes a lot of work and years of practice—the earlier they begin developing this mindset, the better.

Even if their play was not “textbook” execution, they should chalk it up to experience and spin something positive out of it. They should use what’s working and stick to those elements of their game. Focusing on function will help them cultivate confidence and improve their performance over time.

6. Teach Them To Redirect Negative Thoughts

It is entirely natural for young athletes to doubt their skills and technique. But doubt can thwart the development of a confident mindset.

Perfectionist and pessimistic players tend to hold tightly to their doubts. If unchecked, they can overwhelm a young athlete’s mindset and impact their performance for years to come.

Some young athletes may start experiencing doubts about their game before they even start a match or practice session. They may doubt themselves even if they haven’t made a mistake yet. Many young players also struggle with doubt after making an error, performing poorly in a game, or failing to execute just one play. When they allow their doubts to run rampant, they can destroy their confidence levels.

To counter the harmful effects of doubt, young players must learn to recognize it early and nip it in the bud. They must become aware of negative thoughts that sabotage their confidence and spin them in a productive direction. Countering doubt with optimistic and confident thoughts leads to better outcomes and healthier mindsets.

Use positive reinforcement techniques in games and practice sessions. This will help change your young athlete’s self-talk and build their confidence.

Acknowledge your players when they do things right, which will encourage them to repeat those positive behaviors and actions and think good thoughts about their game and performance. You can share your positive feedback verbally or put it in writing.

Compliment young athletes genuinely and not just flatter them. Be specific about their accomplishments and avoid generalization. Instead of saying they are a star performer, you can show appreciation by acknowledging their efforts to improve their game. 

Honest compliments based on objective facts are an excellent way to reinforce your young athlete’s confidence.

7. Focus on the Process and Not the Results

It is easy to fall into the trap of focusing on the results of a match or a practice session instead of enjoying the game itself. But it is important to remember that developing new skills takes time.

Application and repetition are necessary to make those skills part of an athlete’s daily practice and performance. Helping your young athlete improve their resilience will lead to a consistent game in any situation.

Selectivity will do wonders for their performance. This involves consciously choosing what to focus on at a certain moment, whether it’s during practice or a real game. To practice this skill and harness it to its utmost potential, they must understand which performance cues are relevant and which are not. This will help them sharpen their focus by filtering out distractions in their game. 

Distractions or non-relevant cues include obsessing about missing a basket or causing a turnover during an important moment in the game. Crowd noise, backtalk from opposing players, and even thinking back to missed plays in the previous quarters are entirely irrelevant to what an athlete does at the moment. 

Shutting these out and narrowing their focus are essential skills to develop. Unfortunately, most players overload their brains with excessive data as they play. This sends mixed signals to the brain and body, leading to indecision. In this state, athletes cannot perform at their best.

Once athletes define relevant and non-relevant performance cues in their training sessions, they can fully immerse themselves in the sport. This helps them get into the zone or gain a zone focus.



If your young athlete has strong self-confidence, they can stay calm before, during, and after a game instead of getting tense about outcomes and making wrong decisions. This helps them perform effectively and view their mistakes and failures as stepping stones to success.

Keep in mind that cultivating confidence in young players is a lifelong journey and not a one-time milestone that they can achieve and quickly forget about. The process of building confidence involves moving from one stumbling block to another and overcoming each of them.

You have an important role to play in nurturing confidence in your young athlete. Your guidance and support contribute in a huge way to the process of building themselves up and taking control of their physical and mental well-being to perform well for years to come.

Luckily for you and your athlete, you are not alone in this journey. Royal Basketball School is here to help your child play basketball with complete confidence and perform at the highest level possible.

We offer a fun and supportive environment at our basketball programs for youth where your child can learn how to dribble, shoot, and quickly master all the important moves and skills. They can also have a fun time learning how to play basketball with their friends or in basketball teams and get into a children’s basketball league with high confidence.








What is Lorem Ipsum? Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown prin...

Keep Reading

Raising kids is one of the toughest and most fulfilling jobs in the world — and the one for which you might feel the least prepared. Here are nine child-rearing tips that can help you feel more ...

Keep Reading

1. Do not be afraid to ask for helpReturning to in-person learning is new for all of us! Help your child feel confident in asking their teachers, counselors, and or other school administrators for as...

Keep Reading

We’ve all heard about (or have seen) the overbearing parent who shouts too loudly at games, bullies the coach to play their child more, and every once in a while gets ejected from the game. The...

Keep Reading

  Doing certain types of exercise have been proven to help children build stronger muscles and bones. Developing a good physical foundation from a young age includes building healthy bone mass ...

Keep Reading

Alongside health concerns, the current crisis may have socially stunted your child. Because it has brought about a worldwide lockdown state, children’s interactions with other humans have becom...

Keep Reading