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to say that ds can't play football any more? Or is it the best outcome for him?

(11 Posts)
NippingChorton Sat 17-Oct-09 13:52:02

ds (8 and yr4) plays in a football team. He's a good player and this is the first year he has been selected so he's never played competitive football before.

The first few games went very well and he seemed happy. The last 4 games they have been up against far tougher teams and he has just gone to pieces. The last 2 games he has actually asked to be substituted off because he was in tears.

It's a lack of confidence problem and I am supportive as are the coaches but everyone feels he is letting the team down. The minute the going gets tough, he signals that he is coming off. I asked the coaches to try and leave him on today because I think he just needs to learn to stick it out but he just stops playing and gets upset and they can't (understandably) leave him on the field when he's like that.

So I told him today that I don't think he should play any more because he obviously isn't enjoying it and he's letting the team down. He is now inconsolable and says he loves football but gets upset and panics when they play good teams but it's always going to be like this and I can't see the point in forcing him to do something he clearly finds impossible (especially as there are queues of boys who want to play).

I think he may get thrown out the team anyway because they are carrying him but he is a brilliant player so they keep on trying.

Have I done the right thing?

VictoriousSponge Sat 17-Oct-09 13:52:48

i htink they can be better than they can emotionally cope with
ds2 was 8 adn playing in an under 10 team and tbh did not likebeing shouted at by rough parents.

so he has moved onto rugby

NippingChorton Sat 17-Oct-09 13:53:53

yes that is what ds is like Vic

he hates all the shouting on the sidelines

he is a great sportsman but I hate seeing his spirit knocked like this

wannaBe Sat 17-Oct-09 14:08:10

tricky one tbh.

Technically he may be good at the sport, but if he is unable to cope with losing to the extent that he has to come off then he's not a good sportsman iyswim.

How is he generally in terms of losing, ie a board game/game in the park etc?

If it's just football that affects him like this then I might take the hard-line approach "either you learn to hold it together when the team is on the losing side, the rest of the team manages it after all, or you accept that football is not for you and you stop playing," and then see if you can find another sport, perhaps an individual one that doesn't involve team work for him. But if it's a more common issue than that then I would be inclined to work on him in terms of learning to accept that he can't always win, that someone has to lose and that sometimes it will be him, and that being a bad loser will not earn him much respect as he gets older - nobody likes a bad loser, wink.

NippingChorton Sat 17-Oct-09 14:11:33

oh he's always had a problem with losing. It's not that he's a bad loser, it's that he takes it too personally and blames himself. He doesn't get cross with anyone else, he just gets upset with himself. It's a confidence issue.

What concerns me is that telling him he has to stop will dent his confidence even more.

Most of all, I'd like him to stick it out through a whole game (where he loses, or concedes loads of goals) but as a mother, I'm not sure I can carry on putting him through that just so that he learns iyswim

diddl Sat 17-Oct-09 14:28:19

TBH, it sounds as if he´s not mature enough.

It´s not fair to the team that he gives up when he decides it´s too tough,and tbh, I´m surprised his team have put up with it.

hatesponge Sat 17-Oct-09 15:03:06

tbh, I would make him keep going. Possibly on the basis that he only plays half a match each time - both by DS's teams have so many players in the squad that they need to rotate in any event so everyone gets a fair amount of pitch time.

Without being harsh, he has to learn that he can't always be on the winning side - how does he cope when he plays games at school? I know my DS2 (also 8) plays football at break/lunch with his friends, and other team games during PE for example...does your DS get so upset in those situations or is it just with his football team?

If the latter, is that because you are there watching? Or because of other people's comments - if it is because of comments/shouting by parents, your coach should be doing something about it, as every junior football team I know has a very strict FA recommended code of conduct (which all parents are expected to sign!) saying that swearing, adverse comments etc are all strictly forbidden - you can cheer on your team/players, but only positive comments are allowed.....if it's negative comments that are upsetting him, then the coach should be speaking to those concerned.

Accepting you can't always win is hard, but its something he has to learn to deal with, sooner the better really.

Niecie Sat 17-Oct-09 15:15:32

I think I would give him one more go.

Your threat may be just what he needs.

Not exactly the same thing, but my DS wanted to play the clarinet and started having lessons at school. He refused to practice, couldn't blow on it properly and generally couldn't cope with playing outside the lesson
(which he appeared to love).

It got to the point where, like you, I thought the grief wasn't worth it, and said that was it, I wasn't going to let him have lessons any more. He was also inconsolable, but managed to pull himself together and now volunteers to practice (not often but enough) and generally gets on with it. He actually, for the first time ever, refused to just give up when the going got tough.

What I am trying to say is that sometimes you have to give them an ultimatum and threaten to end it. They are then forced to decide if they can take the good bits AND the bad bits of whatever they are taking part in. Only then can they make a decision on whether they want to continue.

Let the dust settle for a couple of days and try and talk about it when you are both calm.

Of course in your DS's case you have to think about the rest of the team so you can't let this carry on for too long but I think one more go might be worth it. If he can't cope, even when faced with never playing again, it is time to get him to stop.

mamas12 Sat 17-Oct-09 16:28:01

I agree with didl
He may not be emotionally mature enough for the whole thing.
Why not just take a year/season out and let the coaches know. Meanwhile he can continue to supposrt his team by watching from the sidelines or not.
My ds was a good little player but didn't actually want to start games proper until 3 years after all his friends and he's fine now 13 and playing for school, town, and local city teams.
Take him out for a year.

CeeUnit Sat 17-Oct-09 16:52:29

I don't know if this will be any use to you but; my brother was a bit timid on the pitch and something that really helped him was joining in with a 'kick about' on the park with a big cross section of people.

My dad loves sport and he and his brother and my other uncle and some of my cousins and their mates all started to get together to play for fun. There was no ref. so it got rough at times but it was not in a league so there was no pressure.

It was a secure environment for him to take a few knocks and toughen up a bit, he's 16 and in a 6 a side league now - shaping up to be a decent little player

lljkk Sat 17-Oct-09 17:55:34

If you take him off the team, tell him that you're taking off because you can't cope with seeing him get so upset, don't make it sound like it's his fault that he gets so upset.

I agree that a less pressured environment to play footie (casual games, whatever) might be best for now.

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