Motivating players while perserving the athletes' confidence when you need to correct them. Top coaches have mastered this skill. Here is a list of ten suggestions for challenging your athletes while still maintaining their confidence.

1) Set high objectives and make it a "we" goal

The best thing you can say to your athletes when they made a mistake is "I know your better than that." This simple phrase reinforces the belief that you have faith in their talent and that you know they are able to performing at much higher level than what they are currently showing. Then turn the challenge into a "we" goal that lets the athlete know that together you will tackle the problem. Making it a "we" project shows your athletes that you are willing to ally with them to help them improve.

2) Realize mistakes are not deliberate

The mistakes players make are not intentional. Athletes want to play well, not only for themselves, but also for their coaches and teammates. Realizing your players mistakes are not intentional can be challenging at times, but the best course of action initially is to encourage and support them to correct it.

3) Allow athletes to play through errors

Although it is not always easy, a great way to demonstrate your confidence in an athlete is to allow them to play through their mistakes. Give them a chance to correct themselves within the game situation rather than pulling them out and immediately offering your feedback. Allowing athletes to self correct and learn from mistakes provides them with an chance to learn resiliency.

4) Excuse making should not be tolerated

In order for an athlete to take ownership for their success, they must also take responsibility for the errors and own the corrective process. Taking responsibility for their success develops a player's esteem and confidence. Taking ownership for their errors demonstrates a high level of maturity and, after correction, boosts a player's confidence. By encouraging players to accept responsibility, you are encouraging them to take ownership of their failures and success.

5) Keep your feedback factual and focused on the solution

Like the players, many times coaches can get caught up in the emotions of the moment. At times like these, the feedback is emotionally charged and can lead to statements the coaches wish they never said. The coach's feedback should be focused on the solution.

6) Target the critique on the behavior, not the person

When giving criticism, make sure the focus of it is the athlete's behavior and not the athlete themselves. Criticizing the behavior allows a person to keep their confidence intact because their behavior can be changed and corrected. However, if you criticize them as a person, they cannot help but take it personally.

7) Surround the constructive feedback with positive statements

What happens when a player's coach always find fault in what they are doing before mentioning anything good? The player become defensive right away and tunes the coach out. By sandwiching the constructive feedback between positive reinforcements, the the player is more willing to listen and take corrective action.

8) Keep the feedback private

Ever heard the phrase "Praise in public, criticize in private." When praising athletes in front of their peers, it does a lot to build their confidence. On the other hand, when you criticize athletes in public, you embarrass them in front of their peers, which raise their defensive mechanism. An athlete's pride in their performance is what get them through the tough moments

9) Reinforce past accomplishments and player strengths

In addition to your praise, athletes can build their own confidence by focusing on their strengths and past successes. One of the best things a coach can do is to remind them of how successful they are and provide detailed examples of this success. Refocus your athletes on their strengths.

10) Never give up

When it comes to your players, you must adopt a mind set of hope. The last thing you would ever want them to do is to mentally quit. If they ever sense you have given up on them, they will either give up on themselves or lose all respect for you and give up on you as a coach. A major factor in a player's confidence level comes from their belief that the coach has confidence in their athletic ability.

Author's Bio: 

Youth-Athlete provides resources for parents, coaches, and young athletes including suggestions and tips for coaches that enable a successful season and a community for open questions.