Children get a unique opportunity in sport to experience “failure”, put it into perspective- and learn from it.
Kids often beat themselves up after making mistakes. As caring coaches it’s our jobs to put their failures into perspective, and help them to learn from it.
We need to build their confidence so that they tackle the next challenge without fear.
They need to learn that every failure is a step towards success.
The only real failure its to give up trying.
Failure Starts Before the Performance
Athletes, young and old, often have high expectations about their performance. These expectations need to be put into perspective and dealt with before their game or competition. They often tell themselves they’re going to win the game for the team, or make no mistakes.
The Gym Wizards competition is an ideal opportunity for kids to experience this desire for success in safe, and friendly environment. We often see kids who walk into the competition believing that they will win a trophy. For most kids this expectation will not be met. This is why each and every child gets a medal for being brave enough to take part.
As caring adults we need to prepare them for the possibility that these expectations might not be met. Kids can be very hard on themselves when they feel that they have failed, or disappointed a mentor. This can hurt their confidence and willingness to try again if they are not prepared for the possibility of failure.
Learning to Love the Challenge
Children need to learn how to view failure in a different light. They need to learn how to make mistakes and know that it’s okay. Knowing that failure is just a learning process they will stay composed and perform in the present. Failure comes with taking risks, and mastering failure they will feel more comfortable taking risks.
In all sport and in life, risks are the key to growing and learning.
If a child never fails at something they won’t learn how to bounce back and move forward. A winner makes things happen because they take risks and learn from their mistakes.
The Gym Wizards curriculum, breaks all the major skills required for Tumbling and Trampoline into smaller more achievable steps. This provides a lot of opportunities for kids to learn that even if they did not master the complete skill the first time around, with perseverance and hard work everything is possible.
They start to believe they can do it, by mastering the smaller, more achievable steps.
Learning From Failure
Young sportsmen should view mistakes as an opportunity to figure out how to improve their performance instead of being frustrated. For example, if child has trouble perfecting a skill, they should consider devoting their next practice to that specific skill.
When a child makes a mistake and looks at the coach or parent, the adult can add some humour and do something like make a flushing motion, which means: “flush away the mistake, move on.” This also shows the child it’s okay.