How To Cope When Your Kid Doesn’t Make the Team

Not making the school sports team can feel like the end of the world to a child. Here are some tips on how to deal if they don't make the cut.

When Raleigh team member Leslie P’s daughter, Hayley, didn’t make the cheer squad in 7th grade, they were both devastated. But instead of giving up, Leslie encouraged her daughter to not lose sight of her pom-pom dreams.

“She got to be an alternate,” Leslie explains. “She did not have a uniform, but was allowed to attend all games in her middle school T-shirt and Soffe shorts. Hayley worked so hard to get better that by the end of the season she had mastered her round off double back handspring!

“I was so proud of her that she was not ashamed to be on the sidelines and was just happy to be a part of the team! She was team captain the following year and received an award for Best All Around! She learned a great lesson and is never afraid to give it her all now win or lose!”

While athletics come naturally to some kids, many struggle to make the cut. With so much pressure to excel at a sport, it’s important to remind your kid that winning isn’t everything and their time to shine will come no matter what happens during tryouts.

With the school year right around the corner, many youngsters are eagerly playing catch in the backyard or shooting hoops with the hopes of becoming the next Kobe Bryant. Whether your kid is just starting out with Tee Ball, active in high school sports, or aiming for a college sports scholarship, here are some key things to remember if they don’t make the team.

1. Listen and Encourage

It’s normal for your child to feel bummed after getting the news, but don’t let them dwell on it for too long. Instead, talk about the bright side of things. Encourage them to explore other hobbies or, in Hayley’s case, encourage them to keep practicing and supporting the team.

2. Help Them Embrace Their Strengths

Not every child is going to be the next David Beckham and that’s okay. Help your child embrace other areas they are strong in – maybe they love hamming it up and would be perfect in the school play or maybe they’re really meant to be the star player on the Mathaletes. They can always join a club team or take a class to improve their skills and gain confidence.

3. Don’t Let Them See Your Disappointment

As a parent it’s always hard to see your child unhappy, but don’t let them see you down. They might take your sadness for disappointment which is the last thing you want to convey. Instead, tell them how proud you are of them for being brave enough to try out for the team in the first place! It’s tough showing coaches what you’re made of!

4. Practice Makes Perfect!

Practice! Practice! Practice! Encourage your budding sports star to practice their skills. Offer to play catch with them after school or challenge them to a game of H-O-R-S-E on the weekends. In Hayley’s case, determination and practice helped seal her spot on the squad!