1. Ask the right question after practices or games. How did practice go? How did you feel about your game tonight? One or two questions show your interest, while too many can feel like you are pressuring your athlete.

2. Offer opportunities for your young athlete to work outside of practice. If he/she says no, drop it and bring it up at another time when their ready to work on improving.

3. Be at as many games as you can. It communicates your support and may encourage young athletes to push themselves.

4. Offer praise for hard work. It communicates support without attaching your love to his or her performance.

5. Let your young athlete bask in and enjoy good games, points scored and games won. When hard work pays off, he or she will be motivated to push harder.

6. Don’t let your anxiety push your young athlete. That will motivate him or her to perform just to make you happy. It only teaches them how to appease you. Also, it distracts your young athlete from finding internal motivation.

7. Let your young athlete make his or her own choices. If it’s a poor choice, let them face natural consequences. This is probably one of the most powerful teachers of all. If your young athlete doesn’t get much playing time because he or she chooses to be lazy in practice, then so be it. But if your young athlete works hard and reaps the benefits, it motivates him or her to keep working hard.

8. Ask your young athlete the right questions. What do you really want? What is your goal in this sport? What makes you want to work harder? When he or she talks, listen well. Respect the answers, even if you don’t like them. Allowing your young athlete to have his or her own goals and desires builds
confidence, which is a big motivator to do one’s best.

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