What is a “Bad” season anyway?
Have you ever gone through a season that can only be described as “Bad?”
Maybe your child is struggling with getting along with her teammates.
Or isn’t getting the playing time he wants.
Or isn’t improving at the rate you’d like to see.
Or doesn’t like the coach.
Or is just not playing up to her potential.
In those hard seasons, it’s very easy for parent and athlete to get discouraged, and to let that discouragement turn sour–to negativity or apathy.
If that happens–that you and/or your child let negativity and apathy take over your mindset–then the season has become a waste of your time. Because at this point, your perspective is clouded and you will not be open to or aware of growing and learning opportunities. Negativity and apathy do that to you.
If you are in a “bad” season, then continue reading because I have something very important to tell you: A “Bad” season doesn’t have to be BAD.
First of all, please note that I put “bad” in quotes because “bad” is a very subjective term. What exactly does bad mean? It simply means, according to the dictionary, that it is “not good in any manor; it’s deficient, or defective.”
If a season turns “bad,” it’s because you and/or your child have stopped looking for what’s good. Whether you did that intentionally or not isn’t the point. The point is that you are refusing to acknowledge that there’s still something good that can come out of a hard situation.
If you want to change that clouded perspective, if you want to turn a “bad” season around, here’s a few things you can do:
Talk about what you don’t like and what you do like about this bad season.
Instead of throwing the baby out with the bath water, as they say (how did they come up with that analogy?!), sit down with your child and make a list of what they don’t like and what they do like about the season.
Sometimes we let the things we don’t like overshadow the fact that there are really are some things we do like. There’s always going to be things we like and don’t like about seasons, but it’s when we feel the balance has tipped in favor of the don’t-likes, that we forget about the do-likes, even though they are still there in full force.
Change what you can, and let go of what you can’t.
Once you’ve made this like and don’t-like list with your child, look at the don’t-like column and decide which things you or your child can actually change. If your child is frustrated with his performance, help him to figure out how he can work on that. If she doesn’t understand her role on the team, encourage her to talk to her coach so she can get clarification.
And then, let go of what you can’t control. Ugh, this is so very hard. Hanging on to our frustrations somehow makes us feel better, perhaps justified in our opinions. But hanging on also controls us, because it warps our understanding and feeds the “bad” season conclusion.
Seek to understand, then to be understood.
One of Stephen Covey’s habits of highly successful people is this: seek to understand, then to be understood. In other words, try to understand why other people act or think the way they do, then try to help them understand your words and actions.
I think it’s important that Covey puts “seek to understand” first. As you seek to understand a coach, another parent, a teammate of your child’s, you earn the right to be heard by them. As they see that you are trying to understand and do care, they will be more likely to listen to you when you try to help them understand your viewpoint.
Understand them first, then help them try to understand you.
This kind of attitude is truly a game-changer. Give it a try!
Focus on giving, not getting; serving, not being served.
One of the reasons that “bad” seasons are bad is that you and your child are letting challenges and hard circumstances consume you. Now, I know that your season may be really, really hard. I’ve been through many very difficult seasons in 22 years of sports parenting. But just because circumstances are not to your liking does not mean that the “bad-season” perspective has to take over your mind.
One way to keep this from happening is to look for ways to give to and serve others. Outward thinking can help make you healthier on the inside.
For you as a parent, this may mean looking for ways to help the coach, the team parent, or other parents. For your child, it may mean encouraging a discouraged teammate, working on a skill with a teammate who needs help outside of scheduled practices, or looking for ways to help the coach before or after practices and games.
I promise you that if you and your child start focusing on others, instead of your own difficult season, your negativity and apathy will start to shrink and you will find strength to endure a hard situation.
Instead of counting the games left on the calendar, or the weeks left in the season–because you are so anxious for it to end–try these four suggestions. I think you’ll find that the season will change from “bad” to “hard, but grow-filled” and perhaps even to “rewarding”.
Is your child struggling with a “bad” season? Are you at a loss to know how to help him or her?
I’m a certified life coach who can help you. I’m not a counselor, therapist, or even a consultant. I will not tell you what to do, but I will help you figure out what to do.
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