How to help your child during try-outs season

One of the hardest things to do as a parent is to walk through try-outs season with your child. We want to always encourage and cheer on our children, but in practical and healthy ways! Sometimes our “help” can come across to our child as critical or uncaring. Your role during this time is important and some of these tips may help you express your support in positive ways.

Before try-outs

Only talk to them about things that are in their control. At this point, worrying them about situations that could arise or threatening them with things like, “if you don’t try and score” or “if you don’t hustle you might not get a spot”, will only do damage. What you should be is instilling confidence, calmness, and discussing only things they can control like: attitude, energy, eye contact, work rate, effort, and being coachable.

During try-outs

Be their cheerleader, keep their spirits up, and their confidence high. If they happen to have a bad day or not perform their best, remind them what happened is done and not to hold on to it. It’s also important to remind them that coaches expect them to make mistakes, it’s how they respond that they want to see.
After try-outs

If things don’t go as hoped, make sure you offer support by letting your child express their disappointment. Try not to go on the offensive, criticizing the process, the people selecting the team, or those involved with the coaching. This minimizes the process and your child’s feelings and can set them up for a lifetime of making excuses and handling failure poorly. Failure is our greatest teacher. They will learn and grow from it better than any successes they have, but here’s the trick, NOT if you take that from them and put it on someone else. Use it to improve and learn. If you can teach them this, it will be one of their greatest lessons in life.

If your child does make a team they wanted, first of all congratulate them – they deserve it! Also encourage them to be kind to their friends who didn’t make the team. Help them think of ways to reach to those friends and treat them how they would want to be treated, if the situation was reversed.

You can help make try-outs a positive experience!