Dealing with failure in youth sports is not a pleasant topic. We don’t enjoy watching our kids fail. Our kids hate failing. Coaches struggle when their players fail.
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post about helping our kids deal with mistakes. But I think this is a subject that can never be addressed too much because it is such a huge part of he whole sportsparenting/youth sports experience. And besides I found this video that I wanted to share that has some good thoughts.
I’m a big advocate of emphasizing the positive and celebrating small victories, but I also know that even with positivity, you cannot gloss over the stark reality and the pain of your child’s failure.
USA Softball Olympian Jessica Mendoza tells parents how you can best help your kids when they face failure.
Dealing with Failure: Here’s how you can help your child
Even as you try to stay positive, there are some thoughts you can share with your child to help him deal with his failures.
- Expect mistakes. Sometimes it seems like winning in youth sports boils down to who makes the fewest mistakes. No matter how hard your child trains or how long he practices, he will still make mistakes.
- Forget about how other people view you. If you’re like me, you’re thinking, Ha! That’s not gonna happen! Asking a kid to forget about his peers’ opinions is like asking him to ignore his hormones or his appetite. Helping them get past that fear of what others think means we let them talk about their feelings without judgement, show them unconditional love, and urge them to focus on their own performance and not on their peers or team mates.
- Review what your failure has taught you. There is always something to be learned from failure if you and your child take the time to sift through the experience. What can you do better next time? What can you do to prepare so that you are ready next time? Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success.
- Expect improvement. Instead of “what-iffing” yourself and worrying that the failure will repeat itself, expect that you will continue to improve. Of course, there will be more mistakes along the way, but they can serve to make you a better and stronger player if you allow them.
Dealing with failure: going back to the positive again
As I said earlier in this post, I’m a big advocate of celebrating small victories. And so I come back to that idea again: sympathize with your child’s feelings about his failures, and then help him to that there’s always something to celebrate, if you will take the time to see it.
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