Research points to empowerment as an important link to the development of a positive identity and enjoyment within sport. Giving athletes input into their sport experience will help to maintain interest and enable a positive experience. As a parent, you may not be able to impact what happens in the gym, on the ice, or on the field during practice but you can still encourage your child to develop his/her own ideas about sport and his/her role within it.

Recommended Parent SCORE Plays – 'Empower'

  • Encourage your child to develop a new drill or game for the team. If they want to share it, bring your child early to practice one day so that he/she can explain it to the coach.
  • Have your child find an inspirational quote that they can bring to practice to share with the team.


Recognition allows for young people to celebrate their own accomplishments and can be helpful in motivating athletes of any level. It is important to realize that recognition does not need to be elaborate; the point is to celebrate your child’s accomplishments – no matter how big or small.

Recommended Parent SCORE Plays – 'Recognize!'

  • Discuss a small performance goal for each game with your child (not related to scoring or winning) and provide a small reward for attaining the goal (i.e., a small treat, release from a certain chore, etc.)
  • Provide positive encouragement for a positive action that you witnessed
  • Have a spot in the home for a 'star wall' where you record and post something to celebrate related to an achievement in a practice or game

'Tell A Story'

Everyone likes a good story. In sport, these stories are well-documented in print, online, and through videos. Learning through the experiences of others (or vicarious learning) is one way to build confidence in young players. Many of the situations that young players are experiencing have most likely been experienced already. Finding a story related to their experience might help them to gain perspective but also build confidence.

Recommended Parent SCORE Plays – 'Share A Story'

  • Find an excerpt of a story (book, online, or video) that you can show/read to your child where an athlete is overcoming an adversity. Have a discussion with your child about the story and lessons learned.
  • Think about a recent sporting event and an example of confidence that may have taken place in the game. Share it with your child and get his or her thoughts about what he or she can learn from that story.
  • Think of a time where your child demonstrated confidence in sport. Share your observation with them and ask them to think about how it felt to play with confidence.