The Agony of Defeat for Parents Whose Children Play in Youth Sports

Youth sports should be about having fun, but that doesn’t make the sting of a loss any easier to handle for either children or parents, especially for those who are very competitive by nature. It often happens that parents end up being more disappointed than their children, or at least they show that outwardly. Kids feel the pressure too, and it helps if their parents understand that their children likely already feel bad about making a key mistake in a major game. The question becomes how do parents address the issue of defeat, especially when that defeat perhaps comes by a key mistake made by your child in a game? How do parents soften the blow without completely eroding their children’s competitive drive?

Everyone Makes Mistakes and Everyone Fails

This comes as no great surprise to those who have been there before, but even Tom Brady throws interceptions and loses games. It’s the issue of how he relates to those mistakes and losses that sets him apart from athletes with lesser talent. He certainly doesn’t sit around feeling sorry for himself or questioning his ability. What he does do is work harder, learn from the mistake, and move forward. We can all learn a little bit from the psychology of Tom Brady, because it’s largely his defeats and failures that have driven his success.

You’ll often notice NFL coaches, even after big wins, talking about how their teams have room to improve. The next day those same coaches are in there studying tape, and looking over plays where someone was out of position, the wrong read was made, and a play that had every opportunity to succeed ended up failing. This is precisely what helps their team improve and builds champions.

Successes build confidence, but confidence doesn’t translate into improvement. Mistakes translate into improvement, and that’s the lesson that needs to be taught in the wake of failure.

Not Everyone is Cut Out for Competition and Sports

Children are sensitive creatures, and no matter how badly we want to see them succeed, we must first acknowledge that sports is an arena in which not everyone excels. The moment when it stops being fun for them and they dread the experience as opposed to looking forward to it, we need to acknowledge their feelings and respect their limitations enough to allow them to find an arena in which they can succeed. The world is full of wonderful opportunities, and sports are just one of the many out there that children can excel in.

Competition Brings Out the Best and Worst in Everyone

Successful people often talk about the role that competition has in driving their success, but they don’t often talk about the toll it’s taken on their relationships and health. There’s a time for competition, and there’s a time for cooperation. There is also a time to sit back and relax and enjoy. A full life experience is not all about one of these things, but all of them. In the end, losing a game is not the worst thing in the world.

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