7 Tips to Help Your Child Manage Tryout Stress

Even though school is just letting out for summer, it won’t be long before fall sports tryouts are on the family calendar.

Trying out for a team can be extremely stressful for kids. It can also be a trying time for parents. With the unfortunate possibility of being rejected and not making the team, your child may lean on you for support and guidance.

Here are seven tips for managing stress and possible rejection during tryout season:

  1. Prepare your child for success. Setting time aside to help your child prepare could give them a slight edge. If they’re trying out for the basketball team, consider taking them to the gym a few days a week to work on shooting and dribbling skills. Adequate practice time can help your child feel less stressed during tryouts knowing that they’ve prepared and that they’re ready.
  2. Help them stay positive. Staying positive is a big stress reliever, especially when things are not going as planned. Maintaining a positive attitude allows your child to stay focused on their goals instead of dwelling on a mistake or hiccup. This allows them to continue to persevere and to learn the importance of not giving up when things get tough.
  3. Remind them to have fun. Being evaluated and tested is indeed very stressful. However, it could help to tell your child that at their core, sports are just games. Remind them of when they first picked up that ball or first picked up that racket, that they solely were doing it for fun. When they begin to actually have fun, they will be more relaxed and less focused on the stress of the tryouts.
  4. Encourage open expression. Allowing your child to vent to you if they’re rejected is very important. Providing a listening ear can ease their minds and help them cope with the rejection. Be ready to listen and offer advice and support where you can.
  5. Let them know that this is not the end of the world. Being cut by your team is devastating and can decrease confidence. However, rejection can be turned into fuel for the future. Both you and your child should ask for constructive criticism from the coach so that you both know how to focus training and preparation for the next tryout. Let them know that their skills are still developing and that with more practice they will succeed. Ask them to reflect on the tryout and tell you where they felt they fell short.
  6. Give them examples of rejection stories. Some of the most recognized people in the world dealt with rejection. Whether it was being cut by a sports team or having their ideas rejected, a lot of people have gone through it.  A prime example would be Michael Jordan. He is widely recognized as the greatest basketball player in history. While in high school, he was cut from his varsity team because he was too small. If he would’ve quit and not worked to improve his game, he may not be known as the GOAT (greatest of all time) today.
  7. Encourage them to try out another sport or activity. This may be easier said than done, but have your child consider trying another sport. It could be more tailored to their skills and they may find a new passion and excel if they try something new.

From cheerleading to football, tryouts are inevitably going to be stressful. As a parent you can help ease stress by encouraging your kids to be positive and confident. With tryouts, there is always the possibility of being cut, but giving your child perspective and allowing them to express themselves will help them cope.

Rejection can be especially tough for children, who might not be prepared to handle it. Help prepare them so when tryouts come, they will knock it out of the park.

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Photo Credit: Mike Morris

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  1. This was a great article. Kudos to the author, Mekhi. What I found most interesting about the tips was how they could be connected to more than just sports. One could actually substitute sports for other activities a child’s involvement in community. Many times parents are focused on getting the child to win, and could possibly forget that it’s the experience that the child will remember first…more than the trophy on the mantle. Being transparent, encouraging, and having fun will go farther than pushing for first place. Thanks for the tips, and the reminder.

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