Do your sports kids have a hard time bouncing back after mistakes? Does their confidence decline after losing a game? Based on what other parents are telling us, the answer is a resounding "yes"! For example, here's what one sports parent says: "My son is a point guard in basketball who gets so upset after a turnover. Whenever the other team gets the ball from him, it's like it's the end of the world. He beats himself up mentally, and then plays very tentatively. His performance gets worse and he gets even more frustrated."
So many sports parents struggle with how to handle this issue. All young athletes make mistakes or face adversity in some form. Some athletes instinctively bounce back quickly; others let the mistakes undermine their confidence and future performance. But it's not so easy to do this. For young athletes and their parents, there's no obvious path to "bouncing back." First of all, it's important for both you and your young athletes to realize there's a positive side to failing, facing adversity, or making mistakes.
Defeat can sometimes motivate young athletes to try harder, to look at what they're doing, and think about what needs improving. If young athletes succeed all the time, they're less likely to evaluate themselves. Defeat gives kids the opportunity to make a comeback - with more knowledge about their training, strategy and mental game.
OK, you might say. But how do sports parents help kids bounce back and turn a loss or failure into a positive?
Good question. Here are a few pointers:
* Help kids cool down after a game, especially a loss. Help them think about something other than their negative emotions.
* Invite young athletes to think about what they did well during their performance. Did they make an interception, block a shot or work hard at being team players?
* Be sure to praise your kids for what they did well, rather than focusing on the negatives.
* Help kids separate who they are from how they perform in a game or competition. You don't want them to link their self-esteem to their sports performance!