Has your child ever headed out for football tryouts, convinced he’s the next Peyton Manning, only to get cut from the school team?
Every fall, the hopeful warriors of tryout season head to the fields, gyms and tracks across the country to face the possibility of a coach’s rejection.
Unlike grades, team cuts are quick and final. That can be devastating for a teen facing such blunt rejection for the first time. What do you say to your kid when he or she slumps into your car and gives you the bad news? I’ve been there, trying to figure out the right words and not really knowing what they are.
“Allow the kid to talk and find out where they’re at emotionally,” says John Murray, a sports psychologist in Palm Beach. “If it’s a serious problem, find out from the coaches what to do next time.”
If you’re considering lashing out at the coach, don’t, says Murray in an article in the Chicago Tribune. Rather than retaliate, he advises having your kid ask what he would need to do to be considered next time.
Murray’s other tips:
Be realistic — before tryouts, make sure your kid is going into it well aware of the possibility of not making the team.
Be a parent — Sports may teach toughness, but a child should still feel accepted at home.
Keep a cool head — before you call the coach, wait a few days and ask for objective feedback.
Keep it up: Encourage your child to use the season to build strength and skills with other teams or sports.
Have a backup plan: Talk about alternative activities or sports.