How to Help Young Athletes Keep Their Cool

If you're a parent or coach, you may have kids who either have trouble controlling their emotions or get upset when they make mistakes.

Being over emotional can hinder a young athlete's performance. As parents and coaches, it's your job to teach your kids that making mistakes is a part of learning and growing as athletes, and remind them that sports are supposed to be fun.

Breaking Down the Feelings

If you can understand what's behind these strong emotions, you'll be better equipped to respond and help your kids play with more confidence and composure. Children who get emotional during games are usually perfectionists; which can be both good and bad. Perfectionists have a strong work ethic, they're committed to their goals, and they want to learn and improve. Coaches can count on these kids to show up and give their all.

The downside to perfectionism, however, is that these kids usually have unrealistic expectations. Because of this, they tend to get upset if they make a mistake in a game or match.

It's often difficult for perfectionists to make the most of their talents. They're driven by fear—the fear of failing. They worry too much about results—the score, the points they've scored and winning or losing. When they worry or try to avoid making mistakes, they can't play with the freedom that's required to learn, feel confident and improve.

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