When your child loses a competitive sports game like a soccer match or basketball game, the ride home may be filled with silence. A father of two children who play competitive basketball and the CEO of House of Sports in Westchester, New York shares advice on what parents should say to their children after a loss.
The car ride home after a game, especially after a loss, is always quiet and uncomfortable. What recommendations do you have about talking about the game, or should parents avoid it altogether?
I have an 11-year-old and a 9-year-old who play basketball at a very, very competitive level. There have been games where we get in the car and it’s silent. My perspective as a parent is that you should never be mad. You should assume your child did his best, that he did as well as he could. He certainly didn’t want to lose or do badly.
My approach is to not to say anything about how they played for 24 hours. Then if we want to talk, we talk about how they could have been better, what they did well, and what they did not do as well. As a whole, I leave it to the coach. That's what he's there for. All I can be is be supportive, be a cheerleader, be an advocate, but not a coach.
One team always loses and one team always wins. There’s always a next game. Our teams like to win, but it's not going to happen every time. When you lose, you use it as a lesson. You have to work hard. It tends not to be luck. It tends to be the other team is skilled. You get to see what your flaws are. I don’t remember ever yelling at one of my sons or being upset with them.
My son’s team was pretty upset when they lost the New York metropolitan championship. They lost by one point. It stuck with you, it hurt. He might have been upset, but he was fine within an hour or so. There shouldn't be so much pressure on the kids. They’re kids.
Donald Scherer is the CEO of House of Sports, the largest indoor sports complex in Westchester County, with 45 basketball teams, 26 lacrosse teams, and 10 baseball teams.