The Unsure Athlete

The Unsure Athlete

“What if I fall? Oh, but my darling, what if you fly?”

As parents and coaches, we go through phases, and our athletes also go through phases; one phase that athletes go through is feeling and wanting to “not play anymore.” Now, this can be completely upsetting for us! We will become frustrated, disappointed, get mad or sad, and sometimes act on our emotions too quickly, rather than talking it out with your athlete. Before any decision is made, as we all know, it is important to think it through, ask questions, and to look at all perspectives.

Ask Questions!

Asking your athlete questions is not only to help you understand how they are feeling and why they are wanting to make this choice, but it is also important because you are helping them think it through, understand why they are feeling this way and wanting to stop playing the sport they love, and to bring insight.

  1. Why don’t you want to play anymore?
  2. Is it not fun anymore, or is someone not making it fun for you?
  3. Is there something you are missing out on because of the sport?
  4. Are you scared of failing?
  5. Is there something else you would like to do?
  6. Do you need to take a break?
  7. Are they struggling with school because of the sports?

There’s a lot of questions you can ask yourself and ask your athlete, so ASK! Be a listening ear, a confidant, but also be an adviser! Give your point of view, give them examples of your own experiences, and explain what their decision means.

As an athlete myself, I remember having a hard time missing out on dances, school functions, football games, and just being a “normal kid”. More often than not, this feeling of wanting to quit comes when high school begins. So much is going on in their lives and no many new people, interests, and events are becoming a part of their lives. Helping them through these feelings can be tough, but it is also a crucial step in helping your athlete see their potential, understand what their future may hold, but also providing support and knowledge behind their feelings and decisions.

Most of the time, your athlete realizes she doesn’t want to quit, it was simply emotions of feeling left out or missing out on new things in their lives, but with our help, they will realize that they won’t be missing out on every single thing, just a few sacrifices that will be made; another life lesson that softball gives-sacrifice is a part of life, and you have to be willing to look at the whole picture before you make a big choice.

But if they do decide they need a break after everything is talked through and questions are addressed because they are burnt out, they are struggling in school, or they are no longer having fun-give them a chance to click that pause button briefly…they may really need that so they get that fire back into their hearts to play again and to get those grades up!

We have to remember that the relationship that we have with our kids and our athletes is extremely important, so we have to make sure we aren’t jumping to conclusions, yelling at them, and becoming mad or upset when they tell you “I don’t want to play anymore” because there is always a reason and there is always room for questions, explanations, perspective, and life lessons. We are more than a parent and a coach, remember that!

Written by Nikoli Sharp

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