So Your Kids Are Trying Out for the Softball Team

By Steven Embree | Jan. 13, 2014, 12 a.m. (ET)

Brought to you by the Liberty Mutual Insurance Responsible Sports program, powered by Positive Coaching Alliance 

Making the team can be a very difficult physical and emotional challenge for youth softball players.

As a Responsible Sport Parent or Coach, how can you make that challenge easier for your kids?  To begin:

·         Reassure your kids that no matter the outcome, they have your support

·         Emphasize that they can’t control the outcome but can control their effort and attitude

·         Remind them to focus on their own effort and not on what others are doing

Responsible Sports and the experts at Positive Coaching Alliance also recommend these steps to help your kids manage the youth sports tryout process:

·         Be Coachable. Parents, remind your kids that coaches look for athletes who have the potential to improve (aka “coachable” players).  They may make mistakes in tryouts, but how they handle them is even more important.  How can kids deal positively with mistakes?

·         Keep It Active and Fun.  Coaches can organize tryouts so athletes are constantly in motion, instead of standing around and watching other players perform, which can make them nervous.  Creating a fun environment can elicit stronger performances from kids.

·         Disappointment Is OK.  Parents, help kids cope with disappointment by reminding them that it’s OK to be disappointed.  Empathize with them; don’t say the tryout wasn’t important.  Instead, consider sharing a story about when you overcame disappointment. Or try a “You’re the Kind Of Person” statement.  What’s a “You’re the Kind Of Person” statement?

·         Check Your Emotions.  Having parents who get upset or angry or want to challenge a coach’s decision about tryouts just puts added pressure on kids.

·         Honest Feedback.  Coaches, one of the best things you can do is give kids honest feedback about their tryouts, including areas where they can improve. Then encourage them to try out next year.  This gives them direction.  How do you give kids honest, “kid-friendly" criticism?

At Liberty Mutual Insurance, we constantly look for ways to celebrate the countless acts of responsibility shown by people every day. We created Responsible Sports, powered by Positive Coaching Alliance, as part of this belief to help ensure that our kids experience the best that sports have to offer in environments that promote and display responsibility. We believe kids can learn valuable life lessons when coaches and parents come together to support winning on and off the field. Join the Responsible Sports movement!

In an effort to benefit millions of youth athletes, parents and coaches, this article is among a series created exclusively for partners in the Liberty Mutual Insurance Responsible Sports program, powered by Positive Coaching Alliance.

©2014 Liberty Mutual Insurance Company and Positive Coaching Alliance. All rights reserved. This material may not be distributed without express written permission. Any reproduction in whole or part by and individuals or organizations will be held liable for copyright infringement to the full extent of the law.