How to Build Confidence in Kids: ‘Sometimes the Bat Breaks’

Every parent wonders how to build confidence in kids. For me, it all started at… Little League All-Stars. District championship game.

Bottom of the sixth. Tie game. Winning run on third. My son emerges from the dugout.

Standing with friends on a hillside above center field, I sigh heavily. I turn away from the field and drop my head onto a buddy’s shoulder. Anxiety and prayer come together in a moment of desperate hope.

Please, God. Let him have this one.

How to build confidence in kids — in the big and little moments

Throughout his Little League career, Ben’s had several chances to be the hero — those pressure-filled, game-winning opportunities — and the wheels have always come off the bus.

“I don’t know if I can watch,” I confess.

“Are you kidding?” my buddy laughs. “Ben’s led the league in hitting for two years. This is his moment!”

His moment.

That’s a lot of pressure for a kid: This—right here, right now—is your defining moment. Finally, at the ripe old age of twelve, all of your hard work, thousands of swings in batting cages, tee drills . . . it all comes down to this. All eyes are on you. Your team is counting on you. Everyone’s anticipating your next swing of the bat.

Ben steps into the batter’s box. He reaches his bat out to touch the far side of home plate and then plants his feet. He lifts his bat. The boy looks ready and in control.

“It will be the first pitch,” I say to my friend. “He’ll go after the first one.”

The pitcher checks the runner on third. Receives the pitch call from his coach. Takes one more glance at the man on third. And then he unloads a fastball headed for the outside corner of the plate. As I predicted, Ben goes after it.

There’s a muffled CRACK!  The crowd erupts. After an uncharacteristic moment of hesitation, Ben explodes down the first base line as his teammate races for home. The defense is scrambling in a confusing blur.

Ben’s defining moment becomes swallowed up in chaos.

Bert Fulks
Bert Fulks
A former educator (World History and Psychology) with stints in property investment, management, and marketing, Bert now splits time as a writer, speaker, and musician, while also managing his wife's veterinary practice.   He is founder and co-director of Empty Stone Ministry, a non-profit that specializes in camps, retreats, and small group events.  Bert and his family live in West Virginia where they share their passion for travel, the arts, sports, the outdoors, good books, and new adventures. You can follow Bert at his blog

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