30 second time outs

Monday, June 15, 2009

All-Star disappointments

This is the time of the year that youth baseball leagues are selecting their All-Star teams. A small percentage of the players in a league are selected for a tournament team - the vast majority of players do not make these teams. How are parents best equipped to deal with this phenomenon?

The key to being able to handle All-Star disappointments is to start emphasizing the Positive Coaching Alliance's ELM Tree (Effort, Learning, and bouncing back from Mistakes) at the earliest ages and rather than worrying about Results and Comparing your child to others. This will create a mindset where being named to these teams is less important (or traumatic). Rather than dwelling on the setback, this is an opportunity for a player to go out with renewed effort to improve and possibly strive to making that team the following season. Focus on the efforts and improvements that were made, rather than the end result of the All-Star snub. Try hard, at all times, not to equate the players performance on the season with their "self-worth", and negatively effecting their self-esteem, by supporting them unconditionally at all times.

The important thing to remember, again, is for Parents to be Second-Goal Parents and not worry about their child's performance (the first goal) as much as the second, but more important goal in the Life-Lessons their child learns. With this approach even the toughest of situations are manageable for the parent. Not all of the lessons learned in sports are fun ones. Sometimes the most important lessons are the difficult ones. Learning to respond to the disappointment, and sometimes even injustice, of not making an All-Star team enables that child to find a way to cope with that inevitable situation later in life. That same player may someday not get into the Ivy League University they apply to and need to deal with that rejection by making the most of their second choice of colleges. They need to learn to forge ahead when they don't get the job, promotion, etc that they desire when they are faced with that in the future - and there may not be a better place to learn how to deal with disappointments and setbacks than sports.

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