Helping our Players Regain or Build Their Confidence

Confidence is defined as a feeling of self-assurance arising from one’s appreciation of one’s own abilities or qualities. In the sports context, an athlete believing in their abilities is key in competition. Confidence enables them to take risks, overcome challenges, and bounce back from setbacks. No matter the amount of time spent practicing or training, if an athlete lacks confidence, their ability to perform when it matters will be limited. When youth athletes are confident, they perform at their best and enjoy their sport more.

When an athlete lacks confidence it impacts the ability of the athlete to show growth, find enjoyment, and have success in practices and games. Signs of low confidence can include poor body language, hesitancy in their movements, decreased enthusiasm or motivation, and frequent errors or mistakes. Low confidence can come from a variety of causes, fear of failure, anxiety, burnout, or even body changes from puberty.

It can be tough for parents and coaches to watch an athlete, your athlete, your child, struggle with confidence. Unfortunately for parents and coaches, we cannot force confidence onto, or into our child or player.  But in researching the topic we have come across some tips that we can take to encourage them to find their confidence within themselves.


When young athletes encounter fear and self-doubt, parents and coaches can be great resources. Talking openly and letting them know it’s okay to talk about their feelings is one of the first things you can do to help a struggling athlete.  The more comfortable kids are confiding in parents and coaches, the sooner they will talk about their fears and doubts.


For many athletes’ low self-confidence comes from athletes giving too much energy to other competitors or teammates by making comparisons, creating a feeling like they do not belong at the current level of play. Constant comparisons of strengths and characteristics by a player can lead to doubt about ability, performance, and contributions.

Help your athletes avoid putting other athletes on a pedestal, as if they are better than your athletes or superior. Encourage them to stop making comparisons to athletes who they think are better than them or contributing more. Try to have them focus on their own strengths and characteristics instead of thinking about how they stack up compared to other teammates or competitors.


Confidence builds when an athlete accomplishes goals and overcomes challenges. Parents and coaches can create a series of progressively more challenging tasks so the athlete experiences incremental success as skills and fitness improve. These experiences should be challenging enough that kids experience some setbacks, but not so difficult that they experience only failure.


A functional mindset is the opposite of trying to make everything perfect. It starts with the idea that athletes DO NOT have to be perfect to perform their best. They are human and humans can’t be perfect. Players will make mistakes but can still contribute and be successful. Tennis coach to professional players, Brad Gilbert, calls the functional mindset “winning ugly.


As a coach or parent, how you communicate with your athlete can significantly impact their confidence. Be aware of your language and tone of voice, and avoid negative or critical feedback. Instead, focus on constructive criticism and praise for effort and progress. If you have over-talked about performance in the past or been critical, some athletes will be unwilling to share openly (see COMMUNICATION above)

We hope this provides both parents and coaches a framework for providing the guidance needed when your player or child shows signs of struggling with confidence.

Here are links to some of the resources utilized for this article.

📸: Mary Rose Jacobi Photography

Tryout FAQ’s

How do I register for tryouts?
ALL soccer-athletes MUST COMPLETE the tryout registration online before participating in the tryout process. Click here to register now!

*Please make sure that you register online at least 24 hours in advance to ensure that the soccer athlete is in the system and we have your information to notify you after the tryout process.  There is a Registration Steps document on the Tryouts page that will walk you through the process. Each soccer athlete should attend both tryout days if possible. If you are unable to attend both days please reach out to the Program Director listed below.

Birth Years for the 2022/2023 Season
For the 2022/2023 season, Kings Hammer will follow U.S Youth Soccer’s guidelines and will organize its teams by birth year:

*Interested players must register to try out for their birth year.

Can my child play up an age group?
Any player playing up will be at the discretion of their respective director. All players need to register and attend the tryout for their correct age group.

What should I wear/bring to tryouts?
Please come prepared with a fully inflated soccer ball, proper footwear, shin guards, and water. Each prospective soccer-athlete will receive one free Kings Hammer Soccer Club tryout t-shirt with a tryout identification number on the back of the t-shirt.  Each prospective player will be identified by the identification number throughout the process and MUST wear this t-shirt at each tryout session for the 2022/2023 soccer year.

We will not be able to attend tryouts or are new to the area and missed tryouts. Is there a process in place to allow for an alternate tryout?
Yes! If you are not able to attend tryouts or missed the tryout dates, please register and then contact the Director for the Program/Age Group you wish to tryout for so that arrangements can be made. We also hold supplemental tryouts throughout the year. Roster openings may be limited after the initial tryout period.

What are the differences between Academy and Premier?
Our Academy provides a highly competitive environment for higher-level soccer athletes. This program provides those athletes with the best local training offered by our qualified and professional staff. Our Academy teams play at the highest possible level providing showcase opportunities to College, Professional, and National level programs.

The Premier Program is a community-based program. The Premier Program provides the opportunity for players to play other sports or have other interests outside of soccer. This program is designed to be flexible, convenient, and affordable.

Can I try out for multiple programs?
We encourage anyone who wants to tryout for all levels to do so. Current KHSC players can ask their coach/director for guidance if they are unsure about which program to tryout for. You will need to register for each tryout separately.

If I tryout for a program and don’t make it, can I try out for another program?
Yes. If you don’t make an Academy team, we strongly encourage you to tryout for a Premier team, attending tryouts for at least one day.

If you don’t make a Premier team, the Classic Program may be an option. Contact Michelle Okumura ( if you’d like to pursue this option.

Will there be more than one team in each age group?
Yes, when possible, there will be more than one team per age group, per program. It all depends on the number of players at tryouts and their skill level.

If my child doesn’t make the top team, can they move up during the year?
Yes, there may be opportunities to move up throughout the year as long as the coach/director feels it is in the best interest of the player’s development. There may also be opportunities to guest play across all levels.

What can I expect after tryouts?
After tryouts you can expect communication from the club in the form of an email.  (Please double-check that your email is correct in the PlayMetrics system, this is the email we use) This will either be an acceptance email, offering your child a position on a team, or an email letting you know that they should tryout for a different program. Players who are offered positions on a team may also receive a phone call from their coach. All communication will come within 24-48 hours of the end of the last tryout. You will then have 24 hours to either accept or decline your email before your spot is offered to another child.

What are the next steps if my child makes a team?

  1. If you are new to the club, you will receive more information regarding your uniform ordering in your confirmation email.
  2. If you are part of the Academy or Premier Programs, you will receive the link to Demosphere to register your child in the state system in your confirmation email as well.

How long is the season?

  • Academy
    • U11-U14: August-November, January-May (possible post-season in June)
    • U15-U19: November-May
  • Premier
    • U7-U14: August-October, March-May
    • U15-U19: November-December, March-May

My child is in middle school but plays on a U15 team. Will there be a fall U15 program for trapped players?
Yes, we will offer a program for trapped 8th graders for the fall season depending on interest. The program will run from August to October and is open to players that are currently in the 8th grade that will be playing on a U15 team starting in November 2022. Questions please contact:

Academy North: Ryan Handbury |
Academy South Boys: James Thomas |
Academy South Girls: Chris Black |
Academy Bluegrass Boys: Dan Ensley  |
Academy Bluegrass Girls: Megan Adkins |

Can a team come to the club and join as a team?
Yes! The team can join the Classic Program. For more information please reach out to Michelle Okumura at

Who is in charge of hiring coaches?
If you are interested in a coaching opportunity, please fill out the following coaching form –

Program Directors:

Academy North: Ryan Handbury |
Academy South Girls: Chris Black |
Academy South Boys: James Thomas |
Academy Bluegrass Boys: Dan Ensley |
Academy Bluegrass Girls: Megan Adkins |
Premier Xenia: Brent Lewis |
Premier North: Wil Cagle |
Premier Sycamore: Ryan Handbury |
Premier Central: Michael Ratliff |
Premier South: David Shemilt |
Premier Versailles: Brandon Cummons |
Premier Lexington: Fonyam Atanga |