Helping Kids Deal With Game Time Mistakes

June 26, 2012, 12 a.m. (ET)

Last month, a Responsible Sports Parent wrote to our panel of experts to ask:It’s the bottom of the ninth inning, the last batter is up. The pitch is made, the batter swings and your daughter drops the fly ball. The runner on third base advances home and the game is over. Her team loses. What would you do?

Frank, a concerned parent.

We asked two of our experts to weigh in. Ken Eriksen – USA Softball and University of South Florida Head Coach, had this to say:

I would immediately tell her that I am proud of her, I love her and I was glad that if it happened to anyone it was her because I KNOW that she can handle it and that not many could. I know that she will be able to put this behind her and learn from it. Then I would reiterate how proud of her I am.”

And Tina Syer, Chief Impact Officer from Positive Coaching Alliance answered:

In the situation you describe, where your daughter missed a drops the fly ball that would have won the game, I think you need to start by swallowing your own feelings, and ask your daughter how she's doing. In the rare instance, she may surprise you: "Dad, I did everything I could to make that catch, but the ball landed low on my mitt and just couldn’t close it."

In the more likely scenario, she may not be ready to talk about it right away. Don't push it. You can ask how she's doing and then let her come to you later; if/when she's ready. When this conversation does happen, do your best to listen and to let her tell you how she's feeling. Make sure to avoid projecting your own feelings on her with comments like, "I bet you feel like you let your teammates down, but …"

You may want to keep some specific, positive things she did well in the past game ready, so when she's totally focused on the missed catch, you can remind her that the team would not have even been in contention to win without her 2 RBI singles earlier in the game. Let her know you're proud of her, even though she missed this one catch. Also let her know you're proud of the way she handled it in the moment (keeping her head up).

Lastly, try to get her to focus on the future. Let her know she'll get another chance at this, and you have confidence she'll catch it next time.

Do you have a youth softball question you’d like to pose to our panel of experts? Visit us online and ask your question today! We regularly post answers on ResposibleSports.com and each month we’ll feature one question here at ASA Softball.
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