5 tips to help your daughter bounce back when she doesn’t make the netball team

The beginning of a new school year means the school sports teams are gearing up for a whole new year of training and matches against other schools. Dates for the trials are announced and discussions reach excited levels of chatter. Girls imagine representing their school, playing in the team with their friends, travelling on the coach to play at other schools and maybe even tournaments, having their names and results announced in assembly to the whole school……..

Photo source: Mariangela Castro (Pixabay)

But there’s a limited number of places — only 7 on a netball team, 14 if there’s a B team. So, sadly there will be a fair number of girls who aren’t chosen this time round. It’s especially hard to take when it’s a sport the girls really enjoy and one they have done well at. Not to mention when some of their friends and peers have been chosen for the team.

Disappointment happens a lot in sport and life in general, when the outcome of a situation doesn’t turn out the way you were hoping or planning for. It’s hard to handle as an adult and even harder as a child who feels rejected.

So, here are five tips to help your daughter cope with disappointment and learn to bounce back:

  1. Firstly, listen to her. Let her explain how she feels about not being on the team. Give her the chance to share her disappointment, pain or vent her anger. Be supportive, not critical. Reassure her that you’re happy she did her best. Your words at this vulnerable point are critical in determining whether your daughter just gives up on the sport or is able to learn to handle the situation and look for the chances to try again next time. Reassure her that there will probably be more trials during the year when there will be more opportunities to try out for the teams if she’d still like to.

2. Don’t be angry or bitter with the PE teacher for not selecting your daughter. Bite your tongue and keep your views to yourself, otherwise there’s a danger your daughter might repeat your opinion to others, which undermines the team and teacher, not to mention causes more problems.

3. Make an action plan — doing something about a tricky situation always helps you feel more positive. If she even registers a tiny bit of interest in making the team later in the year,encourage her to stay positive and try her absolute best when playing netball in her PE lessons, so she stays on the radar of the PE teacher. Suggest finding out about non-team netball at school (if there is a lunchtime/after school club), so she can keep learning new skills. If there isn’t one, then maybe she could suggest having one? She won’t be the only one in this situation. She might feel like giving up and never playing again for a few days, so don’t force the issue if she doesn’t want to.

4. Netball can still be fun outside of the school teams! There are many local netball clubs which take girls from year 5 onwards or even younger, like SistersnSport who offer fun, non-competitive skills schools at the weekends. There are also some excellent netball skills drills on the internet your daughter can try out, both on her own or with a small group of friends in the garden or park. (Try the Foundation Skills series on Netball Australia, Crazy Catch, Ball work with SistersnSport, Trish’s Top Tips on Welsh Netball).

5. Encourage her to try different sports out too. She may not have found “her sport” yet. It’s great fun for children to experiment with different sports to find one that they really enjoy. If she sticks to just one sport, or worse, gives up on all sport after not making the team, then she’ll never have the chance to find her sports passion.

Everyone who tries their best to succeed in a sport will face challenges, competition and setbacks at some point. It’s not easy to do, but if you can help your daughters to handle disappointment with grace and dignity from an early age, you are teaching them something even more valuable than how to play netball — the life skill of resilience!

And if they need that extra inspiration, check out this inspiring video of the irrepressible Sharni Layton, captain of the Australian netball team, who “sat on the bench for five years and missed out on a lot of teams when she was younger.” Now regarded as one of the best players in the world!

#ProveThemWrong

Sarah Bennett is a Mum of two netball- and sport-loving daughters and a Social Media Marketing Manager for Sisters n Sport