There’s a myth today in coaching that if you are “too positive,” if you consistently praise your athletes when they do well, then they will become weak, complacent and soft. Towards this end, many coaches defend their harshness and negativity with their players as a way to make these athletes mentally tougher and prepare them for high level competition.
Being hard on your players and continually catching them doing things wrong, while ignoring or glossing over the things that they do right will NEVER build self-confidence or mental toughness! In fact, QUITE THE OPPOSITE!
Coaches who are stingy with their praise, especially when it is well deserved, while simultaneously over-focusing on their athletes’ shortcomings and mistakes, do a wonderful job of building feelings of insecurity, doubt and low confidence in these players. As a consequence, when under pressure, these athletes will consistently stumble and fall.
However, when you regularly acknowledge your athletes’ successes, when you praise them for a job well done, when you catch them doing things right, you will develop happy, highly motivated and supremely confident athletes. These athletes will be mentally tough, hold up under pressure and consistently be peak performers for you!