I'm writing this because my son's team lost a game yesterday. And my kid, well...he cried. He violated the unspoken rule in basketball and he cried on the court. Blood, Sweat and Tears is real. I'll tell you what happened.
There were 1.6 seconds left in the 2nd half. The score was 17-18. They inbounded the ball to my son and he catches it, pivots around misses the shot that could've won the game. The buzzer sounds and time seemed to slow down as the opposing team cheers in celebration. My child dropped to his knees in shame, with his head in his hands. He got up seconds later with holding his jersey to cover his crying face. My heart broke for him. But this too, is part of the game.
Sports can be intensely emotional experiences. High highs and low lows. When kids suffer a loss, it's a great teaching experience in how to process negative emotions. And by process, I mean work through them. Not ignore them or diminish them.
Elite basketball camps are popping up everywhere. Totally not suprising, considering youth sports is currently a 15 billion dollar industry.What a time to be alive and ballin! Camps can be golden opportinities for your child to develop, gain exposure and compete against awesome, non-local competition. They can also be uhhh...just aiiight. Every camp scenario is different, so here are some questions to ask the camp director to help you make an informed decision.
1. Will there be trained medical personnel on staff? Injuries happen. Kids get sick. And in basketball, there are no helmets or protection. (yikes!) It may be important to you that someone is there to care for your child in the event anything happenes. If the answer is no, that's fine. Some budgets simply don't allow for this. But now you're informed, and you can make sure you're aware of the nearest medical facility.
2.What skills will you be teaching the children? Ask this question and...
1. Find opportunities to praise mental triumphs as well as physical feats. "You looked disappointed when you missed the layup. It was an easy shot. But I love how you picked yourself back up and got back tough on defense! Way to keep your head in the game!"
2. Set goals together. Give rewards when the goal is accomplished. Simple, I know. But it's great practice for children start writing goals down.
3. After the game, ask your child to self-audit and identify areas of improvement. Give verbal praise when you see your child making the effort to self-correct.
"Great game today. What do you think you want to focus on this week?"
"Well I didn't have many assists, so let's work on passing."
4. Get excited and stay lighthearted on the way to games. Positive energy is contagious! Send them into the game pumped up and feeling like they can do anything. Or, if your child prefers to zone out, make sure they have whatever they need to get in their zone.