Failure can seem catastrophic. Magnifying or distorting fear of failure makes athletes, especially young, budding athletes, vulnerable to stress and anxiety. Overreacting to disappointment does too. Both can result in underperformance—exactly what they are trying to avoid!
Thankfully, resilience isn’t a genetic trait. It’s a set of thoughts, behaviors and actions that can be learned and developed by anyone, including the kindergartners. In fact, developing this skill early in life is easier because there are fewer bad habits to unlearn.
As a parent or coach, helping young athletes develop resilience is just as critical as helping them perfect sport-specific skills. It will improve their athletic performance and allow them to progress faster. It’s also a skill set that will serve them off the field, for the rest of their lives. The ability to express disappointment while remaining emotionally balanced is a common characteristic among leaders, regardless of the endeavor.