Saturday, May 21, 2011

Youth Sports: The Confidence of a Daughter and Awe of a Father

Have you ever just looked at your young athlete from afar in awe?

Sometimes my daughter catches me in a trance like state staring at her and she will ask "What?" I simply reply, "you amaze me".

I am amazed by her athletic talent, but I am in awe of her confidence.

I watch her in wonder as she plays sports, or sings in the car, or does her homework without asking for help. I marvel at how easily she makes friends or the comfort she exhibits while conversing with adults. As I watch, I wonder where she gets all of her confidence and I secretly wish I had as much confidence as she.

Where does one get confidence

Did my wife and I give her that confidence or is that the confidence that all children (who just don't know any better yet) possess? Were we all born with unbridled and unwavering confidence before the reality of life gave us periodic episodes of self-doubt? I can't remember ever being as confident as my daughter, but maybe I did have it at one time.

But then again, maybe you are not born with confidence after all. Maybe confidence is developed through achievement. At 10 years old, my daughter has accomplished so much athletically, socially and academically.  She is a straight A student. She has countless friends. She plays point guard on perhaps the best 4th grade basketball team in OH. She plays goalie on one of the best soccer teams in OH (Final 4 in State Cup this year).

If success leads to confidence, where does success come from?

Famed Football Coach, Lou Holtz said that "Ability is what you are capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it."

Boiled down. A person needs talent. They need to be doing something that they love. And finally, they need to work hard at it. If all of these elements align one will be successful.

If you read this blog you know that my daughter has talent and she loves playing sports. What surprises many people is how self-motivated she is. She practices non-stop. If she cannot convince my wife or me or her brother to practice with her, then she will simply goes outside and practice by herself. She exhausts us but she never seems to exhaust herself.

The Main Point

I think that we are all born with a measure of confidence. And confidence can build or wane depending on a person's ability, motivation and attitude.

My daughter played in the final 4 of Ohio U10 girls soccer yesterday against perhaps the best team in the state. My daughter is the second half goalie. She held this powerhouse team to 1 goal and gave our team a fighting chance, but we lost 3-2. She made two spectacular saves. My daughter was thrilled after the game. She knew she played very well - it was another confidence building day.

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