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Development of Self-Confidence – How to Help Your Child?
Working with children aged five to seven is not easy and requires a lot of understanding and patience. Most of them when taking their first steps on the pitch are timid and don’t know what to expect. They cling to their mothers’ skirts, and their complete lack of self-confidence constitute the first barrier for the coach to overcome.
How do you encourage these youngest pupils to play football and have fun, and give them a greater sense of self-confidence?
I tried various ways to encourage the children to enjoy physical activities in my class. Some tried their luck working with their mum or dad in order to feel more comfortable. Others followed the example of their peers or friends and thus decided to join in. At the next lesson, I painted three different ‘facial expressions’: smiling, sad and the third, completely expressionless. I cut these out and made several copies of each. Here’s what I presented the children at the following classes:
When the lessons came to an end, the children with the greatest number of smiling faces were not only more self-confident but took part in the simple and also the more complex exercises. This also stimulated their motivation to actively participate in the training sessions.
My idea influenced the children’s imagination. A smiling face is associated with joy, fun etc. The sad face is the complete opposite. Since each child prefers a happy face, it naturally broke through the barrier of its uncertainty and spent more and more time engaged in the lessons.
The number of happy faces at the end of the month testified to their increasing self-confidence. The child’s satisfaction was all the greater for having managed to overcome the psychological barrier itself, without the help of its parents. The effort put in by the child in achieving the goal was rewarded.
Another useful solution to raise the level of self-confidence can be, colours! The young players have a choice of three colours:
At the end of each lesson, players themselves decide which colour best reflects their current abilities and knowledge. As a result, the child doesn’t feel stress and doesn’t lose self-confidence. They realize that if it doesn’t understand something, help will be given. The teacher or coach receives valuable information, thanks to which he can individualise the lessons.
This improves not only the young player’s personal development but also suppresses negative emotions like fear, anger or frustration. It triggers a determination to do better and be awarded the next colour (level), but only when the child is ready and makes its own independent decision. Here, self-confidence is built up by showing children the way to achieve an objective. However, it is not the objective here that counts but how the children strive to achieve it.
If they don’t understand something, they don’t feel uncomfortable about it, don’t avoid asking questions, because they know that they will get help. The colour they have currently chosen is only a temporary option! Self-confidence is developed through an individual approach to each child. The colour that the young player chooses reflects the level at which it has arrived. No pressure being exerted means less stress and thus increased self-confidence and more focus on doing better. This also affects emotional development and better preparation of the young person for the requirements of adult life.