Getting cut from the team in youth sports is heartbreaking for kids. And whether or not you agree or disagree with this practice, it is not going to totally disappear anytime soon.
It’s easy for parents to get try to fix things by confronting the coach who did the cutting, or try to make their kids feel better by cutting down players who did make the cut and the coaches who made those cuts. But I’d like to suggest that there is a better way to handle this traumatic experience in your child’s life.
Getting Cut: Let them be upset
Don’t minimize their pain. Let them cry and talk about their feelings without giving them a lecture. This is one of those time when you just need to feel bad for your child and offer hugs instead of words of wisdom. “It’s okay” is not really what they want and need to hear.
Getting Cut Doesn’t Have to be the End
Make a point to observe how your child responds to this setback and give him space until he is ready to talk about it. If your child is passionate about the sport, this may make him more determined to give it another try. If so, encourage your child to make an appointment with the coach to discuss what he needs to do to better his chances of making the team next year.
Help your children see that even if they don’t make the team, they have other options. They can play on community or church league teams, or maybe try a different sport or activity altogether. Some kids who have been cut from one team have gone on to be very successful in a totally different area.
This happened with my daughter. When she was cut from a volleyball team, she turned her focus to softball, which ended up being the sport she played in college. Others who were at one time cut from their high school teams, like basketball great Michael Jordan, have gone on to become outstanding athletes.
Beware of YOUR Response to Getting Cut
Kids pick up their attitude towards winning, making the team, losing, and getting cut from parents. If you make a big deal about these issues, your child will most likely follow your example. Not only that, your reaction of anger adds to your child’s burden. He feels bad for not making the team and he feels bad for getting you angry.
The Hardest Part: Seeing the Big Picture
This is difficult thing because so many parents do not see the big picture and if they don’t, how can they help their children see it?
Do you believe there is more to life than making a sports team? Hopefully you do! One of the ways to help your child grow through this experience is to see the big picture yourself, to remember that who your child is becoming through these hard experiences is more important that what game he plays. Your positive attitude will be contagious–if you believe in the big picture, then your child has a better chance of seeing it too.
Watching your child go through a getting-cut experience just plain sucks. But with your love and support, he can move past the disappointment and find something to do that he can feel good about.
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