As a parent you can’t help but notice when your child is trying and trying to master something and just not succeeding. You might also notice when this happens that their head gets lower and lower and their energy level drops, often to the point of them giving up.
When that happens, you know they stopped believing in themselves and their abilities. And from there you’ll likely notice a downward spiral that it may take them a while to climb out of because they have already convinced themselves that “they will NEVER be able to master this skill.”
It is certainly a self-defeating thought and one that you may have experienced yourself over your life time. Right? We’ve all been in the space of trying something new, excited to be doing it, only to give it a go and not master it. To FAIL in our minds.
This thinking only leads to more negativity and self-doubt, quite the opposite of confidence building that you want for them. So here are some things you can do as soon as you notice their confidence starting to drop. These things are especially useful when they are trying to master a new skill.
Praise their willingness to give it a go.
Often as an observer we feel for our child as we watch them struggle. We get emotionally caught up in their inner struggle to succeed. It is like empathizing because we can see ourselves in that same space, trying something and struggling when we were a child.
Whilst that’s not a bad thing, we want to support our child to not fall into the pit of despair, so praise is the answer.
Praise you child’s willingness to give it a go, to try this new skill. Express to them how much you love that they were willing to do something different even though they didn’t know how. Share an example with them of when you did this same thing, tried something new and found it hard to master.
Praise them for being good at one thing they already know how to do
Your child is likely to have already mastered one of the skills really well, so praise them for the great job they have done in mastering that. What you want to do is take the focus off what they can’t do, to bring their confidence level back up. Once their confidence is high again, they are more likely to have better success at the new skill.
Remember to talk to them about how long it took them to master the skill they are good at, the hours of practice it took to be good at it. This is the reality check they might need to realize that they can’t be good at everything straight away.
That’s not what they want of course. They all want to be great at that new skill the moment they try it, so you are doing them a favor in bringing them back to reality. Mastering a skill takes not only a ton of practice but also the right mindset.
Find them some support
If they are struggling take them and find some YouTube video’s that show that particular skill. Sit with them, watching the video and talking about what they see. Help educate them on what it takes to master that skill.
Suggest that next time they go to practice you both talk to the Coach about what it might take to learn that new skill. Ask the Coach for drills or ideas on what to do to learn it. Make a point of being involved in helping your child to become educated about this particular skill.
That serves too purposes. Not only does your child feel supported and understood, but the next time they may be struggling with their learning they will come to you to talk about it. If they feel emotionally connected to you, they will share more about what is happening for them. This is very valuable, because it is the best way to support them at any time during their hockey journey.
Having trouble with the mental side of the game of hockey? Karen Cherrett, Mental Skills Coach coaches players to understand how their thoughts impact their game; Parents how to support their child's mental wellness; and Coaches to understand mental skills management for their players.