We're very excited to present a guest post from blogger Modern Sports Mom, Barbara. Whether you are a hockey, lacrosse or baseball parent, this blog is dedicated to you as we know what you are going through.
Baseball season is drawing near, and team tryouts are in full swing. Trying out for any sport whether a veteran player, or a rookie, can be stressful on kids and parents alike.
Not making the team is a very real possibility, and the competition can be fierce. With this looming over the child's head, managing stress is crucial in making sure that tryouts go as smooth as can be. Kids will look to their parents for guidance, so it is equally as important that parents are able to manage their anxiety as well.
Here are some tips on how to prepare kids for tryouts, and how parents can also be at ease during the process:
Offer them some wisdom. Just a few words of advice can go a long way in building a child's confidence, which can in turn help them to perform at their best.
Ask them to focus on learning something new during the tryout, whether from the coach or another player. This is a great topic of discussion for the ride home, and an opportunity to set their sights on the positive.
Focus on the process, not results; playing hard and ignoring the competition can strengthen their faith in themselves. Remind them that no matter what the outcome, their love for the sport and ability to play is not diminished.
Emphasize that coaches are looking for a player that listens, has good manners, a great attitude, and hustle! If they come to the field with those things in mind and they will do great!
As in everything else, being prepared is key! Not feeling primed can cause tension, and affect performance.
Try asking the coach what he will be looking for ahead of time. Have your player practice at home, or if possible, arrange a private lesson.
The night before, make sure to lay out all of the items he/she needs for tryouts; baseball pants, socks, cleats, hat, and cup, etc.
Studies indicate that proper sleep can improve accuracy, speed, and reaction time in athletes. In other words, a well rested athlete can perform at their optimal level, so be sure that your child gets a good night's sleep!
About an hour before tryouts, eating a light meal consisting of complex carbs, and protein can be a great way to fuel up. Avoiding sugary foods and drinking plenty of water can give players the physical boost they need to give it their all. If they are hungry or thirsty they won't be able to focus on the matter at hand, and that can cause them stress.
Know and trust your gear. Tryouts are not the time to use a new glove, bat, or cleats. Even new baseball pants or undergarments can become a distraction if they aren't broken in. If your son or daughter can safely rely on their gear, they can bypass any added nervousness and have a better tryout.
Breathing and Relaxation:
Relaxation techniques such as prayer and meditation, Pilates, and Yoga can help ease physical and mental tensions. Even just listening to music can calm the mind before a tryout.
Breathing exercises can help the athlete relax, and take the edge off.
For parents, there is little worse than seeing your kiddo sad or frustrated because they weren't able to achieve their goal. We carry their burdens as well as ours, so doing what we can to manage stress can only benefit both the kids and parents as well.
Many of the same stress management principles apply to Moms and Dads. Getting plenty of rest, eating right, meditation, and prepping well in advance, can help to make things run swimmingly. However, there are a few other tactics that can make the experience much easier on parents:
Don't take things personally. Coaches are usually parents too, they know how stressful this can be for you, but remember this isn't an easy task for them either. If you already know them, the pressure is on to make sure they let you and your player down as painlessly as possible if need be. Typically, they have a certain amount of open positions to fill. If your child is a 3rd baseman, and he or she needs a center fielder, then that's just how it goes. Sometimes it's about more than just your child's abilities. Keeping this in mind may offer you some peace of mind before tryouts.
Find support. There are plenty of other sports parents in the same boat. Connect with them, lean on each other through the process, and realize, you're not alone in this!
Think 'big picture'. If your athlete doesn't make this particular team, will there be others? The answer is usually yes. In the long run, will it affect their MLB career? The answer is usually no, provided they are part of the .5% that make it that far.
It's completely normal to have anxiety before a big event. This is the body's natural way of preparing for the task. The thing to remember is to focus on controlling the stress, so it doesn't get the best of you. As a player, acknowledge it, seek guidance, and go do your thing. As a parent, be present, guide them, support them, and most of all love them.
Got additional support or ideas for managing stress during tryouts? Leave us a comment below and share with other sports parents.
About the author:
Barbara is the mom behind the blog. She began writing a craft and lifestyle blog in 2012. As life evolved, and her boys became more involved in sports, she aimed to create a site that would resonate with moms like her, and in 2017 Modern Sports Mom was born. A baseball and football mom, she is fueled by her strong faith, dedication to her family, and coffee. Lots and lots of coffee! Barbara lives in beautiful Southern California with her husband, kids, dog, and cat.