For example, a sports parent, Gretchan, says that her 10-year-old baseball player gives up after one bad at-bat or one poor game. He simply checks out, she says.
Many coaches and parents resort to negative reinforcement to rid kids of this behavior…
But punishing kids for getting upset in practice or competition does not work!
Does the coach make them do laps when they get angry? Do you threaten to pull kids out of sports altogether if they can’t control their outbursts?
Punishing kids only causes your athletes to get more upset the next time…
It does not address the real issue: What’s going through your athletes heads after they make mistakes or lose.
Frustration begins with your athletes’ expectations. They demand perfection of themselves or expect to win all the time, which sets them up for failure—in their eyes—and disappointment.
If you have a hot head, he or she expects to have a perfect game and never strike out or commit a turnover. They may tell themselves they must score 15 points or go 4-for-4 at the plate.
But unrealistic expectations is only half the story…
After committing a mistake, your athletes are probably hard on themselves. They’ll scold themselves after mistakes:
“That was stupid. Why did I strike out?” Or “I can’t stand missing a shot on goal.”
What happens next is a nightmare for parents…
They lose composure, get angry, and often lose confidence. Coach may pull them from the game. Sometimes they even give up and tank.
Thus, punishing kids for their tantrums in sports does not work. You have to address the beliefs and expectations that lead to the frustration trap.
You also have to give them strategies they can use in the moments they start to unravel and are self-critical.
That’s the purpose of our CD program, The Composed Sports Kid. You kids learn the mental strategies to help them overcome mistakes and gain back control.
Sprint over to Peaksports.com and read more about how to help your athletes cope with mistakes:
Dr. Patrick Cohn
P.S. Be sure to check out my video on the relationship between expectations and frustration for sports kids: