5 Things to Do When a Sports Season Ends

The conclusion of a sport season can bring with it a torrent of emotions for both parent and child. Relief, exhaustion, accomplishment, pride, disappointment and loss are all feelings that are and can be felt during this time. Exhaustion and relief may come from the constant go-go-go schedule of the sport coming to an end, while both the ups and downs of accomplishment and disappointment may come from the completion of a great season or one that was not quite what you were hoping for.

For your child, these emotions will come at an intensity that can be overwhelming for them to go through. As most adults know, with age comes perspective, but this is something that we must aid our children in experiencing and understanding at the end of something so emotionally charged like a sports season. So here are 5 things to do when a sports season ends that can help your child process.

  1. Remove your negative emotions from the equation 
    Perhaps the season was not what either you or your child were expecting; it is important not to let your child see your disappointment. Remove your disappointment from the conversation and avoid letting it be a moment where you review wrong moves made by your athlete. Negative opinions and emotions expressed can lead to low self-esteem as well as their drive to continue pursuing the sport they love.
  2. Let them feel how they feel
    Whether your athlete is reeling from the excitement of a well-played season or lost in the woes of a poor one, it is important to let them feel how they feel. Become a sounding board for the expression of their feelings and let them know that it is ok to feel both disappointment and accomplishment in their efforts. When we allow them to tackle their own emotions, we give them the space to learn how to deal with and understand them; making it easier for them to learn to overcome failure and to maintain a positive drive in the wake of it.
  3. Visit the lessons learned
    Take the end of a sports season as an opportunity to offer perspective and to review life lessons learned with your child. The young mind takes on the emotions from a poor season in an intensity that our adult minds do not. Help them recognize the good in an overall poor season and that that season is not the final chapter; they will have many more opportunities to succeed, and also to fail.

    The perspective you provide for your athlete can help them learn valuable lessons they will take with them throughout their life. After a few weeks of letting the intensity of their emotions subside, sit with them and help them work through what they felt they did well, where they feel they needed more practice and what goals they need to set to achieve a better outcome next time.

  4. Help them set new goals
    Once they have worked through what they believe they needed to work on in their completed season, help your athlete create goals and set plans to achieve their goals. When you set goals for the future and make actionable plans to achieve them, it helps your little athlete finally step away from the emotions surrounding the past season and move into the anticipation of a new chapter.
  5. Share your love and support
    Now, it is okay to insert your positive emotions back into the equation. Let your child know you love them and you support them in their efforts with this sport, other sports and in life. It is important for a young child to know they have their parents behind them for whatever dreams they choose to pursue and to know that a season, whether good or bad, is not the be all and end all of their achievements in life.

When you’ve moved through these five steps at the end of a season, you can rest assured that you have done your duty as a sports parent. Enjoy the break in busy training and game schedules, and help your child prepare for next year!

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