Team sport & confidence

How do you feel when you watch your child play sport? Do you love watching or do you become tense hoping he/she will not make a mistake?

Of course, you want your child to do great, and see their enjoyment and determination while they are living in the moment. There is nothing better than watching your little superstar enjoying themselves. Parents want to see their children play with confidence, BUT what if they don’t have confidence?

This is a short story that demonstrates how team sport is so important for confidence.

I was invited to take photos at a State Soccer session at Collins Reserve in Adelaide. Emanuel Pais, Director of State Soccer, had also invited Alex Proster from France to run the session. Alex had just arrived in Australia from the famous French club Olympics Marseille.

During the training, I noticed something that highlights how team sports are instrumental in developing confidence in children, and how it helps them deal with issues beyond sport.


Footballmindset contained a blog where a coaching parent explained how when playing and exercising, chemicals are released in our bodies which makes us feel better and more positive. My story is about Ettian, a 7-year-old boy who became a perfect example on how this can happen. At the State Soccer session, we all could see Ettian went through a dramatic change during 1 hour of soccer training. Within this short time, he transitioned from being almost paralysed with shyness, to exhibiting massive confidence.

So what happened?

When we enjoy doing something physical, it makes us feel positive. Positivity builds confidence which is important when trying to overcome fear of doing something which seems difficult or near impossible. If we look at Ettian in the top picture, his fear was so big, he froze. His body language told us “I don’t want to be here.” However, with encouragement from Alex and Emanuel, they helped Ettian to build enough confidence, so he could do what he really wanted to do, play soccer.

The “why “(he was there) grew greater and greater until it was stronger than the “how” (to overcome his fear)

It can be difficult but it is never impossible

We are all challenged at times, and things may feel difficult or impossible. Anyone with children can relate to this.

There were several older kids at the training, and I don’t know what went through Ettian’s mind but it didn’t look like he wanted to be there. But something kept him from walking away.

In the beginning, he needed encouragement so his confidence could grow stronger. He started to kick the ball around and after a while he was looking up for someone to pass to.

When they started to play a game, Ettian was quietly trying to get the ball, but most of the other boys were taller and stronger. However, with each touch Ettian begun to look like he was in his own world, and he soon forgot his shyness. Ettian appeared to have found his big WHY he really wanted to be at the training.

Soon Ettian took on the bigger boys. After some words of encouragement from the side line, his entire posture had changed on the pitch. He suddenly looked like he no longer viewed the other players as a threat, instead he created opportunities to pass and dribble around the bigger opposition.

Ettian appeared to be a changed boy after one hour of soccer. To top it off, he kicked the Golden Goal. I bet you, he was excited and told his mum about his goal and how much fun he had. Perhaps he told his mates in school too, or maybe he woke up with a little more confidence the following morning.

Confidence is king

I am sure there are thousands of kids just like Ettian. As parents we need to consider this. Let your child know how much you enjoyed watching him/her play, and focus on the positive.

Just think what could have happened if Ettian’s fear was allowed to win … He would have been denied an opportunity to grow, he would have missed something he really loves. He may also have learnt that it is okay to give up.

Instead he learnt how to conquer his fear, and he built another positive stepping stone.

A big thank you to Ettian’s family, for allowing me to share his story. Also, my thanks to Emanuel Pais at State Soccer, for inviting me to the training.

Everyone has a story which may help a child or family, please don’t keep those stories to yourself.

“Off the Pitch with Active” is created to help families with recommendations from professionals to accelerate their children’s development in their sport and build confidence.

I basically do interviews and research related topics parents wants but don’t have time to do themselves.

This is done through blogs and podcasts with interviews and stories of people with experience with children’s development in sport, being coaches, ex professional players or educators. This includes families with children involved in sport too.

Participating in team sports from an early age, contributes to a healthy wellbeing. When children enjoy sport, it makes them feel more positive. It is a scientific fact, chemicals are released in our bodies while exercising and playing sports. It is also well documented that this chemical reaction increases confidence in all aspects of life.


Thank you for taking time to read it.

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