Help Your Youth Sports Athlete Celebrate The Small Victories

Help Your Youth Sports Athlete Celebrate The Small Victories

We’ve always celebrated the wins. Who doesn’t?

But one season, we learned that when the big victories don’t come, it is just as important to celebrate the small ones. My 16-year-old daughter returned from a summer missions trip with a broken toe just as varsity volleyball began at her high school. She started the season late and had barely practiced for a week, when she tweaked her ankle in practice and suffered another setback.

Two weeks later, when she was cleared to play by the doctor, she enthusiastically jumped back in, expecting to pick up right where she left off. Unfortunately, her progress was slow and her frustration evident. We began to look for little steps of progress, acknowledging and rejoicing in each small victory. If we hadn’t, we might not have found much to celebrate at all.

Sometimes we parents overlook small victories because we are too busy looking for the big stuff--the touchdown passes, winning goals, home runs, or game-high points scored in a basketball game. Of course we should rejoice in their extreme successes, but there are many more times when we need to rejoice in smaller victories for they are the stuff that everyday sports--and life--are made of. Small victories come in many shapes and sizes and are unique to each player.

Small victories are subtle. They do not jump out at you.

In fact, many parents and athletes miss them because they are too busy focusing on the negative while waiting for the really BIG victories to come along. How often have you been obsessed with the minutes your child is not playing, the basketball shots missed, the volleyball digs shanked, the passes dropped?

Noticing small victories means you pay attention to more than statistics; it means you pay attention to your child's character. It’s a small victory that coach kept your child in the game at a key point. 

His hard work is paying off. It’s a small victory that your child took some good shots. She is learning to take some risks. It’s a small victory that she dove for that ball. She is learning to fight.

It’s a small victory that your child encourages his teammates on the court. He is learning to be a team player. It’s a small victory that your child gave his best effort. He is learning what it means to work hard. At every game and practice, help your child focus on finding at least one small victory. 

It’s a positive outlook that will pave the way for him to find his way to bigger victories as well.

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