I wrote an article earlier this year about getting cut from high school baseball here is a good follow up … about the younger players.
Your son or daughter did not make All Stars or get invited to play travel ball. You believe that your child played well and therefore you are … (a – angry (b – frustrated (c – sad (d – all of the above.
HOWEVER you very intelligently took a deep breath, stepped away from public view, took yourself to your very own secret little “quiet place” where nobody can see you, screamed and hollered (It’s not fair!!! It’s not fair!!!) threw yourself on the ground and beat Mother Earth into submission with your fists and FINALLY got your emotions under control.
Okay … exhale!!! Wheeeeeew … !!!
Now that you feel better in your (new and improved) P.V. ( “post vent”) frame of mind, you realize that (despite the way SOME adults act) this is still just a ball game and …
… NOT A PARENTING CONTEST … where you might run into THIS guy!!! Ugh!!!
You’re supportive of your child (rather than being self- indulgent about your OWN frustrations) and you’re ready to (as my friend Alan Jaeger (the JBand guy) says … “put the drama aside and get down to business.”
Not getting selected … or not “making the cut” for all stars or travel ball when you are twelve is no different from a “stage” in any other pursuit in life. You need to make an intelligent “evaluation” of the situation and an “adjustment”.
Let’s start with a simple fact … “There is no failure. There is just “process”, information … and adjustment.”
Success in sports, as in life is generally a SERIES of failures … and the information and adjustments that follow. Edison’s 10,000 attempts at the light bulb for example; Dyson’s 5,126 attempts at the bagless vacuum cleaner.
During the “process” of inventing the light bulb, when he was asked about the overwhelming number of failures he had endured, Edison commented that he had NOT failed. He had in fact SUCCEEDED each and every time in learning how NOT to invent the light bult.
Here is a simple “check” or … “to do” … list” that should help this process with your son or daughter.
1 … get your emotions under control.
Actually you just did that, didn’t you?
Negative emotions will NOT get positive results. Oftentimes I play a game with clients. I call it; “Get mad for 30”; as in 30 seconds. In other words, for thirty seconds they can holler, scream, wave their arms, kick the dirt and carry on but after that … deep breath and let’s THINK and WORK IT OUT. Let’s analyze the “information” we have received and structure a PLAN for success. Let’s shape a response that is based on intelligence and reason.
There’s an old adage or rule for success which goes like … “E + R = O.” Event plus Response equals Outcome.
Here is another rule for shaping success: Performance equals Potential minus Interference.
Again; pretty simple. Negativity is Interference. Does your youngster play better when he/she feels good … or when he/she feels bad.
That answer was easy, wasn’t it?
We are looking for a NEW outcome and so let’s START with …
2. AS A FAMILY … TOGETHER … discuss with your child that … “life is not fair”. What happens around us and to us is OFTENTIMES not right. We don’t have to like it or agree with it (and shouldn’t) but we DO have to … DEAL with it and by the way, HOW we “deal” with the situations we are confronted with is largely how we (and the world) judge ourselves and also how we BUILD success so let’s begin with
3. … an objective “evaluation” of the situation.
I realize that there are an enormous number of (shall we call them): “factors” surrounding youth sports; i.e. all the “politics”, some bad coaching once in a while, etc. However, those factors exist in life as well and have to be dealt with so … this is a VERY good life lesson for adulthood. Evaluate and discuss the issues as a family. What happened? Why did your son or daughter NOT get picked. Be honest and objective and remember above all else that there is no failure. There is just information which can be used to make adjustments in our plans and path and get us to our ultimate goals so … take a look at the information and evaluate it. Since you did not make all stars perhaps you should consider …
4 …. Taking a break and playing another sport (or activity) … for FUN!!!
Whoa!!! Whoa!!! I am not suggesting that your son or daughter quit playing baseball. (Using baseball as an example). Not yet at least; at the youth level and especially if they have genuine PASSION for the sport. However, as we all know; literally every sports expert encourages MULTIPLE SPORT participation so … here is an opportunity to experiment with some other sports and activities. Even if your child is a “baseball” kid for example, other sports will develop related skills, keep your child active; not to mention also keeping his/her mind positive and away from DWELLING on the “I didn’t make the all star team” or “get invited to play travel ball” stuff. Finally sports of ALL kinds are phenomenal. They are fun, filled with great life lessons, and they keep your child off the couch and away from the soda, chips and injury (thumb strains for example from playing video games). Good stuff and after all; who knows … they may even find something different and new that they like even better.
Check it out. And enjoy!!!
5. … Get some professional help.Find an honest baseball professional. (You’ll have to look. They are sometimes hard to find). Find someone and be willing to pay for an OBJECTIVE evaluation and consultation; someone incidentally who is not necessarily motivated to get you into his expensive lesson program or on his travel team. Look for a reputable and honest professional and start with a request for a simple evaluation of the combination of (a – your child’s current skill and (b – commitment level (b – how it all projects.
6. … Talk to a coach or administrator. This is a tough one but, if it is done with intelligent civility and manners it can work. Remember … no emotion. This is not a a fight or a “sob” or “anger management” or”venting” session. This is question and answer deal. This is just a matter of getting some “feedback” so you can make intelligent decisions going forward.
“ Why … ?”
7 – Question the “why”, analyze the coach’s response and consider the “situation” and “environment”.
What is the league based on? What is the program’s “agenda”? Look for words like “develop” and “get better,” “teach”, and “… have fun.” Competition or development?
What are the coaches/administrators looking for in a player? (Don’t forget to ask) Maybe your child is not “it”. Yet. Can your child BECOME … “it” … by adding a “piece” to his/her game. Perhaps by the following year or even an “offseason” competition like “fall ball” in baseball. Are there ways your child can improve … in their eyes and opinion.
Maybe this particular league is not a fit for your child and family.
8 – Perhaps “where” is the answer.
Success in life is often dictated by the old axiom of “being in the right place at the right time” and perhaps where your child is … is simply not the RIGHT place.
So … find another place. I am not familiar with where you are but in general there always seem to be alternative situations to play in. Perhaps it is a different league; different town, different coach, team, etc.
9 – (Above all else): KEEP PLAYING!!! Try to make the leap from emphasizing Winning or Losing to Enjoying the PROCESS because THAT is HOW you win!
Why is your child playing the game? Why is your family involved and participating in all this? Isn’t it because you love and are passionate about the game? Isn’t it because it is fun? It better be … because ultimately that is going to dictate your success … at whatever level you compete at.
The big lesson as we prepare them for adulthood is that it is FUN to get BETTER.
Find a local “rec” league. Get some kids and other parents together for a couple hours at the park. Play catch in the backyard. Get your child to go to the park with his/her buddies. Hit off the batting tee. Go to the gym. Get stronger; faster. Discover how good you can be … at anything and everything you do. Teach your child the joy of the PROCESS.
The Japanese have a word: “Kaizen”; it means “continuous improvement”.
The process works when you work the process.
Sometimes it is difficult to ask for help.
All of us could improve something with our mental approach to our game. Sometimes we need help but don’t know who to ask … or how. Contact me and I can explain my sports mental toughness programs and you can learn how to quickly and easily improve your own mental game or that of your son/daughter or the players you coach.
I work with athletes and their families from all over the world using ZOOM over the internet!!!
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