What To Say If Your Child Doesn’t Make A Team

Sometimes parents want their child to make the team more than the actual child. When your child is trying out for a travel team or a competitive league, the stakes are higher for everyone involved. As a parent, you’ve invested in your child’s development to make the team. You’ve been the driver, the supporter, and the decision-maker. For the child, they’ve put in the time, work, and focus. Not making a team is hard on everyone involved. Even coaches have a hard time. Typically, not making a team happens at a travel level. Recreational sports don’t have tryouts. If your child recently found out he/she/they didn’t make a team, here’s what you can say.

You did your very best. I’m proud of you for that. 

It’s important that even in the heat of the moment when emotions are high to remain calm. By keeping your composure and not overreacting you are demonstrating to your child that everything is going to be OK.

Did you know that I also didn’t make a team?

Show empathy by relating to your child. Even if you are referring to a math team or a debate team, this is a learning moment. It’s incredibly rare for a person to make every single team they tryout for. Remind your child that you also have been in their shoes before.

Here’s the thing about sports, there are lots to try!

Just because your child didn’t make the team for one sport, doesn’t necessarily mean you should write off every sport. Try something new and encourage your child to keep getting out there and trying new activities.

There are some things you’re amazing at and just like everyone, areas to improve on too. Do you know what you could have done better?

This may not be a conversation for right after the news broke that your child didn’t make the team, but eventually having a productive conversation about what they thought went well and didn’t is a really good opportunity to teach reflection. It’s also suggested to bring this up in a way that references other moments in life too, outside of sports. Perhaps one example would be talking about a subject that your child is exceptional at and comparing it to another subject your kid struggles with.

I understand your disappointment, I’m here if you want to talk. 

Assuming your child is disappointed, be sure to validate your child’s feeling. Be present and recognize that your child may be hurting. Remind them that you are there and always available if they want to talk about it. Also suggest speaking with the coach or coaches if your child wants to know further why they didn’t make the cut.

Above everything else, showing empathy, love, compassion, and understanding is essential. Most of the time, your child will bounce back and make the next team. But, handling this moment is critical and key to maintaining your child’s self esteem and overall participation in sports. Remind them how this is just one tryout, there are other teams out there, and the best results come from learning experiences.

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