Posts from 2018-11-19

Helping Your Child Learn from Mistakes

Helping your child learn from mistakes

“I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”― Michael Jordan 

Every person experiences failure at some point in their life, and that's okay. 

For many children their first encounter with failure is in sports, so why not take advantage of this to teach them some valuable life lessons? 

While the topic of everybody receiving a participation trophy is always one of debate, you can teach your children how to deal with failure either way.

Lost Game

This is the most apparent form of failure in sports and has happened to every single player in the sports industry; it’s a matter of how one deals with the loss that makes the difference.

In one extreme a loss may be followed by criticism and scolding; on the other side of the extreme a loss may be supported by the classic, “it’s not your fault,” or, “it’s just a game.” 

Neither of these makes you a bad parent but it is something that is far too easy to fall into the habit of, and you are missing vital opportunities to teach your children how to deal with loss or failure. 

Talk to your children about how they are feeling, so they learn to understand their emotions. 

It is also helpful to walk through the game with your child. 

What were the negatives and positives of the game? 

What could they have done differently? 

Most importantly, what can they practice this week to help them improve in their next game. This is possibly the most important and skipped part to cover because failure is a chance to learn from mistakes and become better; but, you don’t become better by merely thinking it, you can only become better by practicing or adapting to change.

Getting Cut

There is nothing worse than seeing your child have no doubts that they were going to make the team and then see their heart get shattered when they are cut. 

This again can be an excellent opportunity to learn a valuable life lesson. Sometimes what we want doesn’t always work out.

It's important for your child not to let it defeat them and instead understand why they didn't make the team. 

Some of the same questions are good to ask here.

What can they practice on this season to assure that they make the team next season? 

We can also talk about how things don’t always go our way, and that's ok. 

JK Rowling got turned down by multiple publishers before Harry Potter was published and became a massive success. Maybe it’s because people did not see what she was capable of before, or perhaps she continued to take the critics and better her edits. 

Whatever the case, she did not let this stop her from trying. She kept putting herself out there and accepting the fact that she might hit criticism with the hope that someday, someone would see her greatness. 

This is how we need to teach our kids to view a situation like being cut from a team. 

While it is not what they wanted, they can’t let what one coach let down, stop them from pursuing the sport that they love.

Not Being Captain

This may seem silly, but many older athletes feel they not only need to make the team, but they need to be the best on the team, and they need to be in charge, and when they are not picked as Captain, it is a downer. 

This is a simple lesson to teach your kids that will change their life. 

Everyone can't be the best, it's impossible. But it's essential that they learn from the best and continue to strive for the top and give it their all. 

Just because a teammate is better for the position than them, does not mean that your child is not valuable. 

Just because they are not considered the best, does not mean that they've failed; they are still a vital part of the structure of the team. 

Seems simple, right?

Many kids feel like they are letting their parents, coaches, and themselves down when they are not the top pick, but hearing someone say that they are still valued, and they don't need to be captain, can help their outlook on the situation. 

Nobody wants to see their kids fail in any aspect in life, but if you do not teach your child how to handle failure, you are setting them up for even bigger failures in their future. 

Always encourage your child to do better, and that doesn't mean no failure. 

It may sound cliche when you tell them that it is a learning experience rather than a failure, but saying it often helps them process failure in a positive way that will help them throughout their life.

“Be a Good Sport!” What Makes a Good Sportsman

What Makes a Good Sportsman

It is a common practice that after a youth sports game, both teams line up and shake each other's hands. “Good Game!” We ask them to say with sportsmanlike conduct, even if they are thinking the opposite! Competitiveness is a natural part of growing up, especially at a young age. Comparison and competition are healthy to have towards siblings and friends as they are provided a safe environment where their attitudes can develop productively. Young kids are in a stage of black and white thinking. Goal oriented, anything becomes a game that can be won or lost: Whose toy is bigger or smaller, faster or stronger. Naturally, children feel frustrated and disappointed when they lose or feel they are not the best. These concepts of winning and losing can be harmful to kids. Their interactions with their peers are indicative of how they will respond to competition in the world. Our role as coaches and parents is to teach and build good sportsmanship while managing competitiveness.

What is Sportsmanship?

As parents and coaches, we urge our young players to “Be a Good Sport,” but what does that really mean? Good sportsmanship goes beyond talent and the ability to win. It is an attitude, and a style, worn before, during and after the game is done; therefore, integrity is a key to good sportsmanship. An athlete who shows integrity is consistent in their actions, which are truthful and reflective of their inner values. A Good Sport can’t just be on the field - they have to take their good sportsmanship off the field too!

So What Makes A Good Sport?

During the game, a good sportsman can determine whether your kids have a good experience or not. Plays Fairly by the Rules

Rules in a game are to make it fun and safe. Breaking them is not only unsafe but also dishonest. A victory won by following the rules is an earned one, making it more fun and giving kids a real sense of pride. Winning by cheating hurts everyone involved and doesn’t induce the same feeling of pride and glory. Cheaters never prosper!

Respect the Referees Calls

Referees know the rulebook inside out. They are there to keep the game fair, safe and fun. Respecting the referee's call is as much part of the game as playing it. It is part of being a good team player and having a positive attitude towards the rules. A team player recognizes the rules apply to all their team but knows how to own their individual mistakes without fighting the ref.

Learns (and Leads) by Example

We ask our young athletes to be a Good Sport, but what about parents and coaches? Good sportsmen take on many shapes and forms, including fans and spectators. Friends and family should be supportive and encouraging, emphasizing that winning is not everything. Parents may not always agree with coaches and referees but maintaining a respectful attitude will be contagious. Your athlete will also want to maintain a positive attitude and pass it on to their team. Remaining positive during the game is fun and participative. Losing can be disappointing, but there is much more to the game. As parents and coaches, we must continue to promote the idea of sports as playing to have fun and to be challenged. This will encourage a continued display of positivity and courtesy-on and off the field. Even after the game is done, a good sportsman understands how to be a respectful winner and a gracious loser.

Shakes Hands

Good sportsmen are respectful winners, recognizing their victory was hard earned without any need to gloat about it. They are sure not to put the other team down, and even offer a high five or a handshake at the end of the game. By recognizing it was a “good game” despite the outcome, young athletes are made aware that a good game is not necessarily one that was won but played well between two great teams. There are many officials and volunteers behind every youth sports event. Shaking hands with the opposing team is essential, but recognizing the officials is just as important. Expressing gratitude towards the referees and coaches demonstrates an acknowledgment of the team behind the team, who make the games possible! Avoids Trash Talk On and Off the Field

Being mean to opponents is being disrespectful to them, to the game and to your athlete’s own team. Even if the other team doesn’t hear the comments, it is a poor reflection of integrity and sportsmanship. Talk positively with your athlete after the game, about the loss or victory and speak well of the other teams and parents. Good sportsmanship does not come quickly to children, as they feel naturally competitive. As parents and coaches, we must continue to encourage positive attitudes and construct healthy concepts of winning and losing. By teaching and being a role model, we can help our kids learn this valuable life skill.


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