The Scottish Football Association

Parent Tools to Build Confidence

Fill the emotional tank high five

 Fill the Emotional Tank

Build a young player’s confidence, motivation and resilience.


• Encourage your child by giving praise and encouragement

• Give positive encouragement of effort irrespective of outcome or result

• Encourage your child to be confident and don’t be scared to try things

• Your child will get nervous - praise, listen and support players to build confidence

• Model the good behaviour you want to see in your child through positive verbal and non-verbal communication at the side of the pitch


Coach Tools to Fill the Emotional Tank

Magic ratio 5:1

There will be times when you have to give constructive feedback to your child. It is recommended that when giving feedback you should give five positive comments to every negative comment. Research has shown that a magic ratio of 5:1 is ideal. Although five comments may sound a lot, they can take the form of positive body language such as smiling, clapping or giving thumbs up or high five.

Child friendly feedback

Feedback from a parent can be very powerful when done appropriately and at the right time. When giving feedback, think about when your child will be most receptive to feedback and what feedback you want to give.

• Avoid non-teachable moments – find the right time to talk to your child (straight after the match may not be the best moment)

• Listen vs. wanting to talk – allow time for your child to talk and give their feedback.

• In private – your child will accept the feedback better in private rather than in front of other people where they may get embarrassed or defensive.

• Ask permission – if it is something that does not require immediate comment, or that your child is not ready to hear or deal with, and then seek their permission before giving feedback.

• If/then statements – these can help put suggestions into context and allow your child to recognise the impact of their actions.

Positive charting

It is very easy as a parent to pick up the things your child doesn’t do so well but it is equally important and valuable to spot the things which your child is doing well and to reinforce them. Children respond to positive attention and this has an impact on their feelings and encourages them to continue the positive behaviour. Make a mental note of a few things your child does well in a game to discuss with your child. You can also use the positive charting template in the parent’s resources section.

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