Coaching Association of Canada

Help Young People Develop Confidence and Self-Esteem in these 5 Situations

As a coach, what you say (verbally or through your body language) is extremely important in the eyes of the athletes, and you may have direct influence on their self-esteem. You must always assess the potential impact of the words you say to athletes or the comments you make to them.

Making comments and giving feedback at practice

  • Give simple, precise suggestions.
  • Give athletes responsibilities.
  • Encourage athletes. Be enthusiastic and constructive.
  • Don’t make it a chore – have fun!

Before and during practice – Listen to athletes

  • Actively seek their input.
  • Respect their opinion.
  • Show that you are flexible in your point of view.
  • Value athletes’ participation.

Pre-competition communication

  • Take the tension out of competition: have athletes focus on what they are going to do rather than on the final result.
  • Be enthusiastic and constructive.
  • Recognize athletes’ emotional involvement and learn to listen.
  • Remind them what works well.
  • Tell them you have confidence in them.

After winning a competition

  • Always make some comments.
  • Enjoy the victory.
  • Underline what has gone well.
  • Point out what can be improved.
  • Lay the foundations for future victories.

After losing a competition

  • Recognize effort.
  • Underline the strong points.
  • Point out what can be improved.
  • Be sure athletes learn something from the experience.
  • Play down the defeat, remind them that there will be other opportunities and that the important thing is to have done their best.

Create conditions that promote learning and self-esteem to enhance your own effectiveness as a teacher and coach. To enrol in the Teaching and Learning coaching NCCP module today, please click here and then click on your Province or Territory for more information.