Shyness in children is something I see all the time, particularly with our toddler or younger footballers.
At this age it is nothing to worry about but as your child gets older, it may become a more complicated matter that will effect their everyday life. It is important for us as coaches to develop confident children to put them in good stead for when they are growing up. Part of our coaching programme is to really focus on social interaction with children as this leads to confidence and a better frame of mind to learn in.
With our younger footballers that attend our football classes, I always ask parents to be patient with their Superstar and give them time to settle in. After all, it is a brand new and busy environment for them to be a part of! Some take 1 lesson to adapt, some take 6, each child is different. But the important thing is that they overcome their shyness at some point during their football classes. If you decide to take your child out of a situation when they are shy, how will they ever overcome it? For me it is the most rewarding thing to see - a child once clung to their parents leg now has a full blown conversation with me when they walk through their football class door (not that i always understand it when toddlers are talking trying to have a conversation with me 🤣) .
Once they are involved in our football sessions, there is lots you can do to help their shyness:
1) Try not to make a big deal out of it when they are within listening distance
2) Do not force them to join in - we will work our magic!
3) Join in with them to make them more confident
4) If they are joining in on their own, give them lots of praise from the sideline
5) Let them play! Do not shout out what to do from the sides or be negative towards any mistakes they make
I believe shyness ultimately is down to a lack of confidence. No child should lack confidence and I feel we need to create positive environments where children are free to express themselves in. At Skillz all of our classes are pressure free and we expect the same from the parents on the side lines. If your child makes a mistake, so what? If what your child is doing does not look exactly the same as what another child is doing, so what? Learning will look messy but it is important we as coaches and parents understand that through this "messy time" key skills are being learnt that will have a beneficial impact on your child's life!
For more information on how you can help your child, visit here.
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