If you have a child in youth sports, then you know that kids sometimes get into a slump. The question is how to motivate your child out of that slump.
The following is an excerpt from The Football Momʼs Survival Guide, but the truths are for every parent of a young athlete who struggles with lack of motivation.
Itʼs not fun to watch your son struggle, fail, and suffer discouragement. If youʼre like me, you want to ﬁgure out how to make it better right away. Like putting a Band-Aid on a scrape, we want to ﬁnd an emotional Band-Aid that covers up the ugly stuff.
Although we canʼt give our sons “bounce back” pills, as we give him Tylenol or Advil for his aches, there are ways you help him return to his A-game after a bad game, or stretch of games.
Recognize that it may take time. Itʼs easy for athletes and parents to become impatient during a childʼs sports slumps. Climbing out of the low spots may happen after one game or after several.
If your athlete is truly working hard and doing his best, he will eventually return to a performance that truly shows his skills and abilities.
Realize that even pros go through slumps. Going through a slump is no reﬂection of your sonʼs skills and abilities. It happens to every athlete. No one can stay on top 100 percent of the time.
A real athlete understands that and learns to push through the slump.
Refrain from negativity or pushing. It only puts more pressure on your son, and that prolongs the recovery.
Remember to show love and support. Believe in your son, and express that belief. “You will bounce back.” And donʼt attach conditions to it. Say, “I love you and I am proud of you,” with no ifs, ands, or buts (but you need to work harder, but you must be more aggressive, etc.). Bite your tongue.
Remind him to keep working hard; it will pay off. This is where your son learns the very valuable lesson of discipline and persistence. He may want to give up trying or quit altogether.
Do everything you can to keep that from happening because the lesson he will learn from this experience will help shape his character for life.
Recognize that you canʼt make everything better or control your sonʼs circumstances. You have to let him learn from the hard knocks and bounce back on his own. You have to let him suffer sometimes. I know it sucks. But better to walk with him through it while he is still home, than send him off on his own if he never learned to persist and suffer through hard stuff.
Janis Meredith, sports mom and coachʼs wife, writes a sports parenting blog called JBM Thinks. Click here to get her latest ebook “Football Momʼs Survival Guide” just released in July.