Annoying teammates in youth sports are as inevitable as winning and losing. Maybe it’s a child who constantly complains or brags, one who feels the need to put down other players or blames others for his mistakes.
When your child ends up on a team with an annoying teammate–who usually does it when the coach is not around so he never gets caught–it will not only drive your child crazy, it will totally grate on your sports parenting nerves. My kids have played with a few of annoying athletes over the years and no, I didn’t always handle the situation in a way that was helpful to my child.
So please learn from my mistakes and remember that annoying people don’t have to bring you, your child or or your child’s game down. Here’s how you and your child have victory over a teammate’s negativity!
Let Your Play Do the Talking
Encourage your child to ignore the harassment, the put-downs, or the cocky attitude by staying out of a war of words and letting his play do the talking. Remind him to not engage his mouth, but work his butt off without saying a word. Showing rather than telling will do much more to shut the annoying teammate up than nasty words will.
Do Not Stoop to His Level
Fighting back in the game of words will only put your child on the same sorry level as his annoying teammate. Don’t let the offensive player do that to you or your child.
Let Go of Grudges
Division in the locker room is never good. Your child may not necessarily like everyone on his team, but if he/she holds a grudge, it will affect team unity and ultimately the team’s success. I’ve seen teams implode because kids and parents held grudges against teammates.
Seek to Understand”
This is probably one of the hardest things to do when dealing with an annoying person. It takes extreme grace and maturity to look past the crappy stuff coming out of someone’s mouth to try to see what is making him act that way. Is he insecure? Do her parents push her too hard? Does he/she feel the need to prove himself because of a talented older sibling?
When someone is annoying, there’s usually more to the problem than what meets the eye.
Don’t Feed Your Child’s Frustration
I think this is the area where I failed. I would sympathize with my child, which was okay, but then I would go too far and add my complaints to theirs. I did not help my kids cope by bemoaning and complaining with them; that only fed their frustrations.
Annoying Teammates: They Can Make You or Break You
Here’s the bottom line: those annoying teammates will either wear your child down, and possibly even keep him from doing his best, or they can grow your child’s character and strengthen him into a more determined and mature player.
Help your child see that he/she has a choice, and that choice will determine what kind of a player he/she becomes.