When your child experiences “failure” or makes mistakes in a game, the last thing he probably wants to do is think about it some more after it’s all over.
During the game, coaches and parents will tell their kids to “shake it off,” which is a good idea in the heat of competition. But later, when your child is home and wondering what in the heck happened out there on that court or field, or in that pool or rink–and if he’s willing to talk about it–it’s a great opportunity to help him process the mistakes to see how he can improve and avoid “failure” next time.
In Heart, Smarts, Guts, and Luck the authors mention five questions a person can ask himself to help overcome disappointments or”failure”. Let’s see how they can apply to your child:
- Was this Really Your Child’s True North? Is this sport or even sports at all really want your child wants to do? Or are you forcing him to do something he’s not skilled for or doesn’t truly want to do?
- Was Your Child’s Own Standard Reasonable? Were his expectations way too high? Perfection perhaps? If so, he will be needlessly berating himself. Of course, you want your child to stretch himself, but sometimes expectations must be adjusted. Research conducted on Olympic medal winners says that athletes who won a bronze meld were actually happier than those who won a silver medal. The reason why? Silver medalists were disappointed they didn’t win the gold, whereas bronze medalists were just glad to be on the medal stand at all.
- Did your Child Try Everything to Succeed? Did your child truly give his best in his quest for success? Or did he try to cut corners, thinking that he would succeed without the extra effort?
- Is Your Child Exaggerating the “Failure”? Sometimes kids forget that sports is a marathon, not a sprint. They blow failures out of proportion, when in reality that mistake doesn’t matter much in the long run. Learning from that mistake, however, will help him in the long-term.
- What Can Your Child Do to Be Sure That “Failure” Doesn’t Happen Again? Talk with your child about what he would do differently if he could start over. Would he make big changes or merely make tweaks? Encourage him to acknowledge the “failure”, think about it, learn from it, and don’t repeat it.
Failure is Not Fatal
Philosopher William James said,
Our errors are surely not such awfully solemn things,” philosopher William James once wrote. “In a world where we are so certain to incur them in spite of all our caution, a certain lightness of heart seems healthier than this excessive nervousness on their behalf.”
Is your child learn from mistakes? Don’t let him miss out on the invaluable lessons he will learn with “failure” slaps him in the face.
Help Your High School Athlete Learn from “Failure!
Help Him Achieve Success!
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