Almost every day, we witness various incidents where many young children cannot manage and cope with their anxiety.

As a result, we observe children who experience many unpleasant emotions inside and outside the sports era. Simultaneously, some other children can cope much better with their anxiety and negative emotions.

I wonder what is causing this?

Many researchers have shown that several factors affect a child’s ability to cope with stress, such as the child’s personality intelligence and self-confidence (which is directly related to the degree of support they have and receive from both parents and coaches).

The support that children receive from their parents and coaches is critical. Suppose the athlete feels safe and knows that they can go and talk to someone about anything worrying them. In that case, their anxiety symptoms are reduced to a significant level.

In contrast, children who feel pressure from their parents or coaches to perform better or win a game experience anxiety before and during the game to a greater extent. This fact is one of the most critical factors in children’s abandonment of sport.

Stephen Rowley (1993) states that unlike what happens in puberty before puberty, boys seem to be more tolerant to stress because of the competition they experience. We observe this phenomenon because parents tend to support more girls, and also boys put more emphasis on sport than girls.

At the same time, research has shown that children who perform better at school can manage their stress more efficiently. It happens because they have a higher degree of self-confidence and self-esteem. Of course, it is not a necessary criterion of stress management. In many cases, we observe children who have excellent performance at school and generally have high self-confidence. Still, they find it challenging to manage their stress and anxiety in sports.

It seems that many factors influence how a child can cope with stress. However, parents and coaches need to understand that they have different children in front of them with different personalities and characters. So, it is crucial to reach out to children and make them feel safe to talk to us and share what they are feeling. It is also vital for parents and coaches to accept that it is more important for the child to develop their skills and have fun in what they have chosen to do rather than win at all costs in every game!

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