Handling The Loss
- Updated: March 28, 2015
Winning and losing is bound to happen — it’s a part of sports. Throughout a baseball season, even at the youth level, it’s almost impossible for a team to win all of their games. Even the most seasoned professional athletes still have “off” days. However, how parents and coaches decide to handle these situations can greatly help or hinder their team.
Coping with a loss the right way can facilitate growth in a young baseball player’s game, build good sportsmanship and teach a child that winning and losing is natural. Dealing with losses incorrectly, as a parent or coach, can have the opposite effect — it can make the game unpleasant, discourage personal growth and teach poor sportsmanship.
Here’s a look at some suggestions for parents and coaches on how to handle losing:
Focus on the positives: While baseball is a team sport and the ultimate goal is to win games as a group, positives can be drawn from individual performance — even in the event of a loss. It’s this ability to focus on the positives — and not dwell on the negatives — that can encourage player growth. That’s not to say that negatives shouldn’t be addressed or corrected, but it should be done in a constructive way. Remember, these are kids. Baseball is a team sport, so never place blame on a specific individual or individuals. That, too, can do more harm than good.
- Losing is part of the game: As we said at the beginning, sometimes you win, sometimes you lose — that’s sports. Even in defeat, there are still life lessons you should instill in your kids. Teach them that losing is normal, and to lose or win with class.
- Keep the game fun: As we previously mentioned, if losing isn’t dealt with properly, it can be toxic to a team. Always remember that baseball is a game — and games are meant to be enjoyable. This is especially important at the youth level, if the game isn’t fun, then your child will probably not want to continue playing it. That’s why losing should focus on the positives and the coaching staff should never lose sight of keeping the game entertaining.
- Turn losing into motivation: With baseball you have the opportunity to play frequently — so you don’t need to wait long to get back on the field after a loss. Use losses as an opportunity to motivate your team and encourage them to do their best next time.
- Be there: Your child likely knows when he wasn’t at his best and can often feel down when his performance wasn’t up to par, or after the team suffered a tough loss. It’s human nature to be disappointed when situations don’t go according to plan. Be there for your child! Listen to his thoughts and feelings and talk things through together, again, highlighting the positives from the game. If a child sulks for too long, the negativity can become overwhelming. Remind him that losing isn’t life or death.
Your child should be playing baseball because he enjoys the game — not because he feels pressure from you, as the parent or coach, to win. When the latter scenarios are the case, the game feels more like work than recreation. Teamwork and sportsmanship should be the center of any youth sport. Losing might not be ideal, but if parents and coaches handle losses appropriately, the players will not forget the most important component in youth sports — having fun.
Shana Brenner is the Marketing Director for CoverSports, which specializes in superior protective sports covers that are manufactured in America.