Losing It On The Sidelines? How To Get A Grip On Your Emotions

breathing coach resource parent resource wells thompson youth soccer
Wells coaching u7 NCFC team

The beautiful game’s an emotional game. It's part of what makes it the greatest game in the world!

I experienced this firsthand last weekend coaching my son's 6-year-old NCFC team.

We were getting clobbered BIG-TIME. And as the score mounted, my young players started to crumble. While at the same time, my own competitive juices started boiling over. The stares from the parents only adding to the tension. 

I had to fight back my inner Hulk.

After a game like this, I used to need hours to work through this alone, away from everyone.

But, not this time. I was prepared. I’ve been training. Thanks to the power of Soccer Resilience, I had the tools to help me navigate this turbulent sea of emotions. 

Here’s what I did. And something you can practice as well. 

First, I taped into my breath, slowing it down, taking deep breaths into my belly through my nose. I was letting my brain know that I'm safe and all is good with Wells. I was telling it to relax. 

Secondly, I reminded our head coach, which also reminded me, of what truly mattered - the players' development and love of the game. We vocalized our beliefs and the perspectives we wanted to instill in the kids. 

Thirdly, we shifted our attention outward, towards the players. We encouraged and reminded them of what was important: not just winning, but the attitude and effort they put into the game. We've been teaching them all season that these are the two things they can always control.

After the game, I used the same approach with the parents. 

I reminded them that kids are quitting sports at an alarming rate, often due to the pressure to win at all costs. Losing's a part of life, and it's an invaluable experience for our children. It teaches them resilience, character, and the importance of those two things we've been emphasizing all season: attitude and effort.

So, and this goes for ALL of us, when you feel your cool slipping away, remember:

  1. Breathe deeply.

  2. Refocus on what matters.

  3. Meet players where they are.

  4. Praise progress.

Staying calm and centered amidst the storm is a skill we cultivate over time, with patience and practice (check out our resources page for some more help with this). In the end, it's our actions that teach our children far more than our words ever could. To raise resilient, determined kids, we must embody those qualities ourselves. 

In the world of sports and life, embrace the journey, learn from each setback, and keep pushing forward. That's what resilience is all about!

Wells Thompson
Soccer Resilience®

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