Getting cut from a team is a pain no parent wants their child to experience.
Team cuts are final and brutal. What do you say to the crushed, sweaty child who cries or mopes all the way home from the gym or field?
My oldest daughter was once cut from a club volleyball team. When she came home crushed and heartbroken, there was really nothing I could say at that exact moment to make her feel better.
And that’s the first thing you must remember as a sports parent.
At the moment of your child’s pain, your words are probably going in one ear and out the other.
Your first job is to listen.
Let your child cry, rant, or go to his room. Offer a hug or any other physical show of support that he will accept.
When they are ready to process, drop everything.
At some point, your child will be ready to listen, and when he does, if it’s at all possible, drop everything and grab the moment. And when I say, he’s ready to listen, that doesn’t mean he’s ready for a lecture. It probably means he’s ready for you to help him think through why he didn’t make it, ask questions about what he’d like to do about it, and brainstorm solutions with him.
Be ready with a backup plan.
If your child wants to continue to play the sport, look for ways with him to make that happen. It may not be for the school or club team that he wants, but at least he will be playing the sport he likes.
Or the backup plan may be to go in a totally different direction. For my daughter, getting cut meant that she decided to give up volleyball and focus on softball. And guess what sport she ended up playing four years in college and is coaching today? Yep… softball!
Don’t lash out at the coach.
He does not have an easy job. I knew one freshman girls’ basketball coach who would sometimes tear up as he’d talk individually to the girls he was cutting. My husband coached high school softball and had to cut girls every year. That was one part of his job he deeply disliked. It is not an easy decision.
Instead of lashing out at the coach, encourage your child to wait a couple of days to cool down, then ask the coach what he needs to do to be considered next time. That information will help you and your child make a plan to work towards his goals.
Getting cut is not The End.
If your child is determined to play that sport, support him and encourage him to never give up. If he uses the season to build strength and skills with other teams or sports, he can make it happen. After 28 years of watching my husband coach and 21 years of watching my kids play, I’ve seen it happen over and over again. Kids who got cut, come back and make the team the following year.
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