Q&A about confidence with Jessica Ennis-Hill

Thanks to Sky Academy, Mumsnetters had a rare opportunity to get advice from Jessica Ennis-Hill CBE on helping kids to become more confident - in sport, and in life

Sky Academy is set of initiatives that use the power of TV, creativity and sport to help young people unlock their potential. It recently launched Confidence Month, to highlight the importance of confidence in young people's development. As part of the campaign, Sky is showcasing its five Sky Academy initiatives, each of which help build practical skills, experience and confidence, with the aim of helping one million young people by 2020.

Davina McCall, Jessica Ennis-Hill CBE and Thierry Henry are supporting the initiative and to celebrate, Sky gave Mumsnetters the chance to ask them whatever they liked about confidence. First on the podium was Davina McCall - catch up on her top confidence tips and what it's like in the media's eye. Next up is Jessica Ennis-Hill CBE - find out what she had to say below.

WIN! A £200 John Lewis voucher!

How to help children lacking in self-confidence

Mumsnet: How do you think we can help children feel confident in what they can achieve, without constantly comparing themselves to others? (CMOTDibbler)

Jessica: I think children really need positivity around them to build confidence - real encouragement to take on challenges that they may otherwise shy away from. When they actually achieve new things it can be a really amazing confidence boost.

I think you need to spend time with children who lack confidence and find ways of building it up away from other children. If it is lack of confidence at getting involved in sport, I would help them practice at home - so when they pluck up courage to have a go in front of others, they know they can do it.

Mumsnet: How do you help children to become less anxious in social situations and to develop their confidence in new situations, particularly when they have a quiet nature and personality? (LJH79)

Jessica: I think you need patience and to encourage them - praise is also important when they do engage with others.

Using sport as a confidence booster

Mumsnet: How do you encourage a positive attitude to giving all sports a go, and not to get upset when not being picked for teams, winning etc? (DrSausagedog)

Jessica: Through explaining that everyone has different things that they are good at, and you have to give lots of things a go to find your special skill. If you're picked last for a team it does not mean you're not the best - you can still shine when you are taking part.

Mumsnet: My kids enjoy taking part in sports at school, but both of them know they're not up there with the sporting best. Everything these days seems to be league-tabled and measured - which sometimes makes them feel a bit lacking. How can I help my children do their best and be happy with their own performances and improvements? (SuzCG)

Jessica: I think it's important for kids to understand that winning is not everything - enjoyment is. You have to love what you are doing - and if you don't, then try another sport that you do. As a parent I think encouragement and support along the way, and putting no pressure on them to be the best, helps. There are so many benefits to being active that are not linked to winning - fitness, enjoyment and friendships.

How to deal with a self-confidence crisis

Mumsnet: Have you ever experienced a crisis of confidence? If so, how do you deal with it? (Flamingtoaster)

Jessica: Yes, I think we all do. When I came back from having my little boy I really didn't know if I would ever be the athlete I was again; competing was really hard, as I had no idea how I would fare against the others. But I have goals to achieve and have taken all the steps to getting myself back to my best - there is nowhere to hide: I just have to go out there and give it my best.

Mumsnet: How do you manage perfectionism, and avoid putting too much pressure on yourself? (MangoDaiquiri)

Jessica: I am a perfectionist and I used to worry all the time about getting everything right. But since I've had Reggie, he has become the most important thing for me - so I don't spend time worrying about training and competing. Of course I do worry about being a good mum, but as parents we have agreed we can only do our best, and we're taking things day-by-day.

Mumsnet: What were the best confidence-boosters your parents taught you? (MerryMarigold)

Jessica: To learn from disappointment and understand that things are not necessarily the end of the world, but just valuable learnings. Just to be as positive as you can in life - this really helps with confidence as you don't let things get you down.

Mumsnet: Do you think self-confidence, and the belief that you can achieve what you set out to do, is the key to your success? Is it possible to succeed in life without self-belief? (TheJawsThatBite)

Jessica: I think we all need to believe in ourselves first. If you don't believe in yourself it's hard to convince others to believe in you. Self-confidence isn't easy, and sometimes we seem more confident than we are. We all need to be able to put our toe in the water and try things to actually succeed. Success is the end of a journey - you have to put your mind to achieving a goal and have a strategy to get there.

Sky Academy and how to get involved

Mumsnet: Where can you find more information about the Sky Scholarships? It sounds really good. Also how do schools find out about the Sky Academy? (Hermancakedestroyer)

Jessica: Sky Academy Scholarships are a bursary scheme that supports emerging talent in the world of sport and the arts. The sports scholarships support 12 of Britain and Ireland's young athletes to fulfil their potential on the international stage. The scholarship offers a programme of support tailored to each athletes specific requirements, covering areas such as funding, media coaching, mentoring and wider developmental support.

For more information about Sky Academy, visit the website or follow Sky Academy on Twitter @SkyAcademy


WIN! One lucky Mumsnetter will win a £200 John Lewis voucher - courtesy of Sky Academy!

To be in with a chance of winning, simply answer the question below. 


Competition closing date: 16 November 2015



Last updated: about 3 years ago