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How To Help When Your Child Fails In The Clutch

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This resource stems from a question submitted to the Ask PCA blog. Responses come from our experts including PCA Trainers, who lead live group workshops for coaches, parents, administrators and student-athletes.

"My 8-year-old failed in a clutch situation near the end of a game, eliminating our team from a tournament. How can I help him get over his disappointment?"

PCA Response By Ray Lokar, PCA Trainer – Los Angeles
Among the greatest values sports can offer youth are lessons in resiliency and "grit." Too often, we parents try to protect our children from the very moments that can build these qualities.

To capitalize on the teachable moment, a great first step is helping our children understand the courage required even to face that clutch situation and try their best. Help them understand that in team sports, no single player loses (or wins) a game alone. It is a great life lesson in teamwork to realize that the player who makes the last out of a baseball game may feel worse, but that there were 17 other outs made that contributed to the end result.

Dealing with these disappointments by focusing on the process rather than the outcome helps players understand that in sports, as in the rest of life, sometimes you can do everything "right" and still not get the desired result.

There are a lot of "failures" in sports in the form of strikeouts, missed shots and fumbles. If players learn from these (guided by parents who are intent on youth taking life lessons from sports), they can use the setback as motivation to improve technique. These experiences all become building blocks and help build the resiliency needed to succeed at anything.

Download a printable version of this resource, including any additional commentary from PCA, by clicking the PDF below. To read more questions and answers like this, or to submit your own question to the Ask PCA blog, click here.

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