Losing is a hard pill to swallow in any sport. So it’s crucial to accept defeat, remain positive, and move on to the next challenge. But kids don’t have this ability. For most, losing a game can be very disheartening. Coaches and parents have to step into these situations to recover kids’ self-confidence, teach them how to overcome defeat, and motivate them for the next game.
Listen to Your Child
After the game, take a moment to listen to your child. Allow them to retell the game and get angry if they need to, but only to an extent. Let them tell their story and expose their feelings to you.
But be attentive to what they say and how they say it. If the child is disrespectful to the official, teammates, or the coach, interrupt them and don’t pass up the opportunity to correct their behavior. The same goes if they start to break or hit things in their fit of range.
Help Them Understand Their Feelings
Getting angry, sad, disappointed, or frustrated is normal after a loss. It’s as much part of sports as it is life, and your child needs to understand this. After they finish speaking, let them identify their emotions. Ask them:
- How do you feel at the moment?
- Why are you angry/sad/disappointed?
- What would change those feeling?
- How can you reach that sort of outcome?
Remaining calm and leading the conversation in this direction will help your child reasonably cope with their emotions. As they age, their coping mechanism will form. It will let them rationalize the problem to find a solution.
Praise Their Efforts
Praise your child no matter the outcome. If they are accustomed to hearing words of approval from you when they do well at practice, commend their effort even when the results aren’t favorable. Praise their hard work and level of commitment, and get them used to the fact.
Instead of saying, “Congratulations, you were the best player on the pitch,” say “I like the amount of effort you put to help your teammates today. Great job!” It signals the importance of teamwork over winning, and that you will always recognize and acknowledge hard work in spite of the result.
Don’t Criticize Their Efforts
Despite the loss, you have to remain supportive. Never criticize your child. If you reprimand their effort or performance, it can put them off of sport altogether. So, instead of using negative language like “You should have done better,” use assertive statements like “I think you have the ability to do better next time.”
Additionally, you should offer to help them practice their game as a sign of support. Showing a genuine interest to work with your child as a way of overcoming loss, directs their efforts towards a more constructive resolution.
Don’t Let Them Be a Sore Loser
Teach your child to be humble in defeat, and graceful in victory. Win or lose; your child has to know how to accept the result and remain kind in spite of it. Teach them to demonstrate compassion by shaking hands and saying “Good game, and thank you for playing” to each opponent after the game. Learning how to use fair play to show sportsmanship will help your child focus on playing the game for fun, and not for the result.
You do not learn about leadership in the classroom. And, you do not learn it on the field. But it isn’t inherent ability athletes are born with, and both coaches and parents should look to teach young athletes to become leaders. Here’s how to do it through youth sports.
- Personalities Change
If your young athlete isn’t a natural leader, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t teach them leadership skills. The personality changes over time, and the soft skills they learn now will come in handy once the perfect opportunity presents itself. All they might be looking for is a situation where they can come through for the team.
- Leadership Requires a Familiar Environment
Leadership in youth sports associates with kids’ self-confidence. And that relies on making decisions and taking on responsibility in a familiar environment. You can’t expect your athlete to become a leader if they have only started playing for a new team. It’s going to take some time.
- Ability Isn’t a Sign of Great Leaders
Coaches often select players with the best ability to lead the team. That’s a mistake. Talent alone can’t win over the hearts and minds of the team. Self-confidence, determination, communication, drive, and empathy on the other hand can.
- Encourage Athletes to Make Decisions Themselves
Decision-making is a critical leadership trait. But making the best decisions in every situation isn’t an inherent skill. It’s crucial to give young athletes enough space to learn this for themselves. It might not be the best decision the first time, nor the second time, but being a good leader means knowing how to learn from your mistakes.
- Provide Athletes with Decision-Making Opportunities
Being able to make decisions also involves having an opportunity to make such a decision. Youth club coaches should always try and provide each player with at least one chance to decide for the whole team.
For example, in football, you might allow the QB to do a play at the start of the match, and an RB at the end of the game. The experience will make their individual in-game decisions much more successful.
- Encourage Academic Achievement
Reading will foster creativity and imagination in people. A key trait among leaders who need to find a creative solution to a challenge and make the whole team see it as an opportunity. Encouraging young athletes to focus on academic achievements will increase their capacity to observe, learn and be creative in the sports field.
- Teach Young Athletes to Lead by Example
Athletes are inclined to follow leaders who show sportsmanship and integrity and are more agreeable, humble, and aware of the needs of others. And these soft skills can be taught among young athletes.
Encourage kids to lead by example. And as a coach or parent, you should do the same. Inspire these leadership qualities in young athletes by demonstrating them yourself at home or during practice. Kids look to adults for guidance, and if you become a good role model, you will be able to teach them almost anything.
- Encourage Perseverance
A good team captain knows when to quit, and when to give 120% to motivate his teammates to do the same. Perseverance is a critical leadership trait as it drives people via deeds rather than words. If a team sees there captain struggling to carry the whole team on his back, they are far more likely to look inwards to produce a performance that will help him out.
Contact us at League Network if you want to learn about how we encourage young athletes to become leaders in their teams.
Award-winning team sports funder joins the 1,000,000-team app marketplace.
NEW YORK CITY & MINNEAPOLIS October 15, 2018 – FundMyTeam has joined the NBC SportsEngine Marketplace, making North America’s most-awarded team fundraising platform available to over 1 million team sport leaders who use NBC SportsEngine to manage their organizations. Backed by sports investors and pro athletes including NFL Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott, FundMyTeam entered the $3 billion youth tournament, league, club and team fundraising market in late 2017.
FundMyTeam is the only sport technology company named a prestigious 2018 RED HERRING 100 WINNER, the same ranking that identified early tech successes like Facebook, Instagram and AirBnB. FundMyTeam claims a highly-reliable 90% campaign success rate in raising teams’ entire funding goals under 25 days. FundMyTeam’s all-online team sport campaigns, run by expert fundraising Captains, raise more money easier, faster at lower expense from individuals and local sponsors than any comparable provider, with no up-front costs.
FundMyTeam investor and NFL Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott famously said that “No person ever went into youth sports to be a fundraiser.” FundMyTeam was launched by League Network founder and longtime youth sports leader and media entrepreneur Anne-Sophie Whitehead to turn fundraising from a nasty-but-necessary experience to easy, fast and reliable. “Our trademarked mission is Better Leagues, Better Lives®,” says Anne-Sophie Whitehead, “We built FundMyTeam for dedicated team leaders who deserve easy, fast, reliable access to funds so their kids can all pay-to-play safely and often.”
“We’re excited to welcome FundMyTeam to the SportsEngine Marketplace ” said Rick Ehrman, SportsEngine’s Vice President of Corporate Development. “As the go-to app and service resource for youth sports, the Marketplace offers SportsEngine users friction-free access via integrations to leading providers like FundMyTeam.”
“No youth coach likes telling team moms and dads they can’t afford better access or travel opportunities or the best in player-safety,” says League Network CEO Jay Whitehead, operators of FundMyTeam.com. “FundMyTeam is here to help team leaders and team moms say yes to the best.”
About FundMyTeam and League Network PBC
League Network’s products, FundMyTeam.com and TLC Sport Summits serve leaders of youth sport organizations in the $19B youth sports industry. FundMyTeam.com won the prestigious 2018 RED HERRING 100 AWARD and announced plans to raise $20 million for youth and high school tournaments, leagues, clubs, teams and sports tech providers in 2019. The Tournament, League & Club Sport Summits are regional one-day professional development events for youth and amateur sport organization leaders. Backed by pro athletes and sports venture investors, League Network’s trademarked motto is Better Leagues, Better Lives®. More at LeagueNetwork.com, FundMyTeam.com, TLCSportSummit.com.
About SportsEngine and SportsEngine Marketplace
Helping the world play smarter and live more, SportsEngine, Inc., an NBC Sports Group company, is the leading software provider of sport life management solutions for 35MM coaches, parents, athletes, and sport relationship management applications for more than 1MM clubs, leagues, governing bodies, and associations. SportsEngine helps sports organizations around the globe reduce the time they spend on administrative tasks, and enables them to focus more on developing their athletes, providing safe experiences, and furthering the love of sport. Learn more at: http://www.sportsengine.com, Facebook.com/sportsengine; or twitter.com/@sportsengine.
Getting cut from a team is disappointing. Any form of rejection is painful and stirs up negative emotions among children, especially if they have their heart set on something. But failure is also part of life, and a setback can be good for your young athlete.
During this hard time, kids will look to you as a parent for moral and emotional support. It’s crucial that you know how to handle this situation the right way, to help them grow, raise their self-confidence, and turn an adverse outcome into an opportunity for self-improvement. So, what do you tell your child after they’re cut from a team?
Listen and Empathize
Before you speak to your young athlete, listen to them. It’s important to hear them out and discover their feelings. Are they angry or sad? Do they feel they have disappointed themselves or you? Are they having second thoughts about playing that sport or for that particular team?
Knowing the answer to all of these questions helps children vent and express their emotions, and gives you time to determine how to channel them into a positive outlook. It also let’s both of you accept and mourn the failure.
Empathizing with your child also shows there’s nothing wrong with getting cut from the team, as long as you don’t let bad emotions consume you. And it helps when someone listens to what you have to say.
Sleep On It
Rash decisions never solve anything. While listening and comforting your child is good for their emotional wellbeing, making quick decisions can be harmful for their future participation in sport.
Instead, sleep on it. Allow yourselves to cool off before you come to an agreement. Both of you will think more rationally and with a clearer mind.
Afterward, find out what they want to do, and maybe follow up with the coach and uncover the reasons behind their cut.
It’s a Challenge, Not a Disappointment
Getting cut from a team can be seen as a challenge, and it’s important to emphasize that when speaking to your child. Seeing it as a setback can motivate them to be proactive and work harder outside the practice field.
Prove your support by offering to practice with your child. If they view your efforts and reactions as positive encouragement, it tells them that it’s only a minor problem.
If are glad to work with them on a problem, it helps you find a suitable solution together.
Make Simple and Constructive Suggestions
Once they have a positive mindset, it’s up to you to provide the next step. Simple suggestions like creating a plan can lead them to figure out primary long-term goals.
For example, you might offer to practice with them, that leads to a tryout for a different team or the first step in preparing for next year. You might also want to take their mind off it, and go to a pro game.
Whatever you choose, make it sound fun, supportive and enjoyable so the child will accept your proposal.
It’s Up to You
There is no universal blueprint for handling tough situations like this, but remember that your child is unique and your own. And if your child does get cut from a team, there is no one better in the world who can talk to them than you.
Artificial turf is a recent innovation in youth sports. But not everyone is thrilled about it. Ever since 2004, when long-pile artificial turf fields were introduced to soccer by FIFA, the number of such areas has been increasing. Simultaneously, the number of injuries among athletes also increased around the same time. It has led many sports professionals, sports scientists and other advocates to question the safety of turf fields, and ask: does turf cause long-term injuries in athletes?
What Do Scientists Have to Say?
The debate over the safety of artificial turf has motivated scientists to examine the question. According to research conducted on soccer players, there is a clear correlation between artificial turf and injuries among players. In most cases, the casualties included cuts to hands, arms and torsos, ankle sprains and strains of leg muscles.
In a separate study conducted on female soccer players, sports scientists confirmed the results and found that serious injuries were sustained more frequently on artificial turf than natural grass. The most common injuries were ankle sprains, which also occurred much more on artificial grass. Additionally, as the quality of the turf declined, it also caused the number of injuries to increase.
It’s important to remember that in both papers, researchers emphasized that players sustain injury either due to physical contact with other players (tackles) or due to the surface of the field.
What Do Female Athletes Have to Say?
In an interview ahead of the 2015 Women’s Wolrd Cup, Alex Morgan (US national team member) and 40-plus other international soccer stars voiced their concerns. She revealed her belief that there is a higher risk of sustaining injuries on turf fields and that recovery takes longer.
Additionally, Alex also said that she had trouble during and after performing on artificial turf fields. She emphasized that the turf made her feel more aches, pains, and sores than grass. That’s one of the reasons the female soccer players filed a lawsuit against FIFA and questioned the decision of the men’s World Cup not allowing artificial turf in Brazil.
What Do Male Athletes Have to Say?
Another problem of artificial turf is crumb rubber. It is a material consisting of black beads spread across the field to absorb moisture and make the surface less slippery.
Despite its benefits, crumb rubber is made from scrapped rubber tires which contain carcinogens and toxic chemicals like benzene. After being diagnosed with Lymphoma, former goalkeeper Ethan Zohn found a clear parallel between cancer and goalkeepers who played soccer on artificial turf.
Although inconclusive, keepers do throw themselves on the ground most often and end up swallowing the small rubber crums. Additionally, during high moisture, the chemicals evaporate rapidly, and the people closest to the ground (goalkeepers) inhale most of the toxic fumes.
Turf can cause long-term injuries among athletes. The number of injuries that can be sustained on turf is far higher, and the mentioned prospect of cancer makes it an unsafe surface to play any sport. And once you consider how much youth athletes spend time playing on these types of fields, serious investigation and a boycott of artificial turf until conclusive results are revealed to be the right course of action.