The Roots to Helping our Kids Ignite their Confidence - By guest contributor Danielle Orvella

Former collegiate athlete who went from helpless to helpful. Danielle Orvella played competitive softball from 6yo through her senior year of college. Though it was her first love, it was also the thing that defined her the most. After becoming a college coach, and discovering most other female athletes dealt with the same performance anxiety and pressure she did, Coach D rooted herself in this new found passion: the mental performance of athletes. Now Coach D is a certified mindset coach that helps athletes from all over the country strengthen their mental game so they can reach new peaks with their physical performances. Visit for more information.

The most important thing to understand about confidence is it isn’t something that we are born with, it is something that each of us create from within. 

The most trending comment that is made by the parents of my athletes, in chatting with them, is:

“I just wish I could give her the confidence; everything would come together if she just believed in herself.”

Isn’t that the truth?! I wish for the same thing for all my athletes, and I wish it was that easy. However, as I mentioned before, confidence is created and it’s conditioned. So in having those conversations with parents, I feel the need to provide them with tools to help develop that confidence within their child. 

Here are a few things to consider when assessing your child’s confidence:

- What does your child’s environment’s look like? Are the people surrounding them positive, negative, courageous, fearful, leaders or followers?

- When your child is done with the school day or a performance, what measurables do they focus on? Grades, relationships, approval from audience?

- What does your child’s habits reflect? Are they dedicated to achievement, or easily taken away from their goals by distractions?

In reflecting on these questions, I want you to also ask yourself the same questions and apply them to yourself. 

- Are you positive or negative?

- Are you measuring life based on results?

- Are your habits aligning with your goals?

The reason it is important for us to individually reflect is we are what we surround ourselves with. So, whether we like it or not, our kids pick up a lot of the things we demonstrate to them. If we are coming home with the days weight on our shoulders, our kids will start matching that behavior subconsciously, when they come home from long days.

After reflecting on their environment, and our own, here are 5 strategies that you can implement to help your child build that confidence from within: 

1. Practice a positive self-talk routine: Every morning when brushing their teeth have them share 5 things, they love about themselves.  This is a hard one at first but once it becomes a habit it is SO TRANSFORMATIVE. Simply by starting our day off with this positive self-talk, it sets an armor of strength as your kid embarks on the days curveballs. 

a.  Maybe it is their eyes to help them see their loved ones, or their sense of humor to make their friends laugh, or their strength to overcome the tough things in life.  

2. When your child is done with a performance (School, athletic, recreational) focus on measuring their attitude and effort ONLY! 

a.    Were you a good classmate/team mate today?

b.    Did you help someone today? 

c.     Did you try your best in that situation? If not, what more do you think you could have done to bring your best?

3. Notice your child’s posture. When around their friend group, in class, on the field/court, do they hold themselves with strong posture (Shoulders back, head high) or do they have a weak posture (collapses shoulders, and head down, dragging feet). When their physiology is strong (standing up straight, head high, open chest) they release their body’s dominance hormone, testosterone, that radically changes their thoughts and how they perceive the things around them. 

4. Create a highlight reel! Confidence is aligned with our past. Make sure you and your kid remember and talk about those times where they succeeded. Keepsake those big moments, whether it is that grade of that challenging test, or that most improved trophy, or that picture of a rekindled friendship. Those momentous moments are so important to have on a highlight reel to constantly replay when they might be feeling nervous about a new task they are embarking on. 

a.   Let their daily habits find a spot on that highlight reel too! You will find if they commit to their goals, and dedicate time to achieving those goals every day, those repetitive actions will prove to themselves that they are capable to achievement. With repetition you will see advancement, with that advancement, confidence is developed. 

5. Practice Visualization all the time with your kid. Visualization is forecasting a play by play of an upcoming situation, right down to how the grass feels below the feet, to the pencil in our hand while taking that big exam. 

a.    When you can put yourself in a situation using vivid imagery, you are tricking your mind to believing that you are there. If you can experience that upcoming event repeatedly, once you get there, that confidence will shine because you have already been there, and you know exactly what to do. You are eliminating the unexpected, that sometimes can take that confidence away from us.  

Developing confidence is a process that takes time and consistency; as well as a healthy environment that will help it grow. Will there be setbacks and hiccups? Most definitely, that is life. It is essential for your kid to experience the highs and the lows and all that is in between in life’s journey. That is where they prove to themselves that they can rebound after a setback. Helping them build their confidence is not boosting your child beyond reality. It is helping them establish strong self-talk and a solid routine that aligns with their results. Remember confidence comes from within, your kid must develop it themselves.  

Here’s to constantly growing our self-confidence and planting seeds of it everywhere we go. May 2022 be the most confident year yet! 

All the best, 

Coach Danielle Orvella 

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