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Sports can take you on a roller coaster of emotion. One moment, you can be flying high with excitement; the next, you find yourself disappointed and struggling for answers.
These disappointments can be difficult for both athletes and their parents to deal with. The reality is that disappointments are inevitable, so the question then becomes: What is the best way to respond when these difficulties arise?
Here are three questions that both athletes and parents can turn to when they experience a bump in the road.
How can I grow?
Adopting a growth mindset is one of the most powerful ways to put a positive spin on a seemingly negative situation. The power of this principle lies in your capacity to control the only thing you have control over: your own development.
Especially for younger athletes, getting cut from a team or sitting on the bench can be a painful experience. But a wise parent will help their child understand that they can always control their attitude, work ethic and desire to improve.
It can be easy to feel sorry for yourself or to blame the coach for your circumstances. Don’t fall into this trap! Developing a victim mentality will only hurt you in the long run. Learn, grow and adapt to whatever circumstance comes your way.
What can I do better?
Regardless of the situation—a difficult coach, lack of playing time, suffering an injury, etc.—you can always find a way to improve!
Are there coaches who will treat you unfairly? No doubt.
Could you experience some bad luck as a result of an injury? Quite possibly!
Can you always improve as both an athlete and a teammate? Of course!
As an athlete, you can always become more focused and better prepared. As a parent, you can always find a way to be more encouraging and positive. Together, everyone can always find a way to play their role in a more effective way.
Don’t let disappointment take away your focus from becoming the best you that you can possibly be.
What is my plan?
Even the best laid plans can be thrown off track. But when challenges arise, the key is to recalibrate your plan and keep moving forward!
Things don’t always go as we expect, but the quicker you can formulate a new plan of attack the quicker you can reach your goals. My favorite example of this type of situation is how someone responds to an injury.
Your injury might prevent you from doing normal sports activities, but most injuries only take away part of your movement. So get creative! Plan around your limitations and get to work. Use your down time to improve another part of your game and grow as an athlete.
Over the long run, having a plan in place will help you go further as both an athlete and a person.
Quinn McDowell is a writer, trainer and professional athlete. He has played in the NBA D-League, Australia and Spain, following his four-year career at the College of William and Mary. He is the founder of AreteHoops.com and desires to see coaches and players succeed with excellence. He currently resides in Palencia, Spain, with his wife Lindsey.