Sporting success tailing off!

(4 Posts)
Susiesue61 Wed 17-Aug-16 23:30:34

Dd absolutely loves sport. She plays football purely for fun, she used to be really good for her age but is now just playing for pleasure. She is 14 by the way.
Her other sport is cricket. She is obsessed and plays whenever she can. She has been told she is very talented over the winter. However, she has had a shocking season with the bat, although everything else has been good, especially her fielding.
It's now getting to the point where it's making us all miserable. When she doesn't do well she is so unhappy, and she talks about it constantly, especially to me. DH tells me to not talk about it, but it's very hard when she brings it up.
I suppose my question is, have any of you got to the point where you or their coach has had to point out that this might be as good as it gets? DH spoke to one of her coaches today, who said again she's very good but it's a lack of confidence. I don't know how to fix this, and although everyone has suggestions, nothing is helping!!

ealingwestmum Thu 18-Aug-16 13:29:58

Hi Susie - I have no real advice other than to empathise with you. I think it is just as hard being a parent of a sporty child managing the highs and lows as the child itself.

Other than to state the cliches of sport development being a long burn, and will include dud seasons where they have not achieved their perceived potential, I guess my underlying question would be: does she still enjoy her sports, and if so, then she should keep going, as she does with her football, as not all paths can lead to high level success. And that learning from 'failure' is also a key lesson in life.

The lack of confidence is an interesting one, and holds a lot like yours and mine down (vs lack of ability), as they, for whatever reason, lack that killer instinct/aggression/drive needed to not only instil confidence in themselves, but win over others...especially in contact sports. But this is the difference in those with natural leadership on the pitch/pool/court etc vs those that are the team players...just as essential but not always the ones that shine.

We are working on this one ourselves (my DD is nearly 13) and I see it as a WIP vs a quick fix. She's a great team player but always seen as the supporting role to other stars. I did make her read some elite sport autobiographies this summer to give her an insight to their journeys. Not all were pretty reading, but actually did help her to put things into perspective, including peaks and troughs, body changes, juggling school, commitment etc. I got a thanks for doing this mum for the first time last week when dropping her off at the pool last week. Not to say she doesn't have her appreciative moments in life but penny dropped on the impact it has on all of us supporting her and spending countless weekends reading a book on the side lines grin

I am not sure if it helps, we are pretty blunt in our household, and use analogies such as the lead singer in the pop band always takes the limelight, but would be nothing without the other band members. Same with music, not everyone can be the soloist. This occasionally results in a reverse where she gets a spurt on...it's sustaining this that we are challenged with!

Final point re your DD's coach - we have had this feedback a few times. We moved coaches on one of her major sports, and out of sheer determination to overcome his feedback, she is now starting to make some in-roads. Not a natural in this sport, but she has been recognised by her current coach as someone that can still succeed, due to her hard graft and attitude. And that 13/14 is such a critical stage where children drop out due to lack of form, that getting through it can work for some, with support.

So try not to get hung up in the moment only, and see if she can come through her low patch, and try to put everything into perspective, including what she really wants to achieve out her sporting career.

Sorry that was so long!

ealingwestmum Thu 18-Aug-16 13:44:37

Just to add (when my DD gets too moany and negative), I do tell her to quit if she wants to. She's never taken me up on it, other than ballet, as she knew she was just not quite good enough to succeed beyond the high level she'd got to, at the expense of other things she was better at or could liked more. Her choice, made with rationale on ability; time; commitment; risk of injury etc. Was a sad day for her, but the right decision...

There's potential friendships outside of the school day that I think are also invaluable, and useful in their later life.

Witchend Fri 19-Aug-16 15:16:25

I think there can be a problem when a child is labelled as "really good" when younger and then they find other people catch up.

I'm coming at it from a tennis experience. One child I played aged 15yo (I didn't play tournaments before that) had a huge reputation. Aged 10yo she'd been picked out as a genuine GB prospect. Loads of coaching, people expected huge things.
Aged 15yo I, as a good club player, beat her.
Thing was she hadn't got the background to cope with not winning all the time. The first time I played her we were neck and neck until I got 5-4 ahead. She hardly won another point, let alone another game. After that she just went to pieces if I played her.
Her shots were very good. She had worked hard. However her head couldn't cope with the possibility of losing, so if there was a possibility of that, she fell apart.

Now I think because aged 10yo she was significantly better than other 10yos she never had to face the possibility of losing-or if she did it was to people much older who she expected to lose to. But because she had so much expectation on her back it made losing a bigger thing for her than it should have been.

Now I wonder I something similar has happened to your dd. She's been told she's good. She's gone in feeling people expect her to shine. And she feels people will look at her batting score and expect to see her way above all others.
Fielding is different. It's not the same-yes you get the good bowlers etc. but no one's going to look at a match and say "hmm. Susie's dd didn't catch any this match, she's not as good as we expected." So she is playing her best fielding because the pressure isn't there.

When she's batting she's feeling she's got to hit brilliantly every ball or people will talk.

Confidence comes from doing well, so it's a vicious circle. Could the coach talk to her. Tell her it doesn't matter, everyone goes through bad times, and perhaps give some coaching on the side.
Out of interest, how does the coach feel she does in practises? If she's good in practice, but poor in games it does tend to show a bit of a head block rather than ability.

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