The FIFA World Cup is winding down with this week’s schedule featuring semifinal matches on Tuesday and Wednesday. Argentina will play Croatia and France will play Morocco with the two winners advancing to Sunday’s championship bout.
France advanced to the final-four after knocking off top-seeded England this past Saturday by a score of 2-1. France had the one goal lead in the 84th minute when a penalty sent the English team captain, Harry Kane, to the box for a penalty kick. Kane, one of the most renowned players in the tournament, skied the kick, and the game ended in regulation, bringing an end to England’s World Cup dreams.
With the spotlight on him, a minor mistake was made for a bad look and missed opportunity. He took to Twitter the next day to share his emotion:
Harry Kane was accountable for his mistake and almost immediately turn it into a learning lesson. Although his mistake was made on the biggest of stages, it may have been easier for him to learn from that moment than it is for a youth athlete to learn from their individual failure. That is not to suggest that Kane will be forgetting the pain of England’s loss or the devastation of feeling responsible for it any time soon, but the way that he responded to the situation offers an excellent teaching moment for parents.
The disappointment of failure carries different weight for every athlete, and if yours is one who struggles mightily with it, take a note from Harry Kane. No matter the stage, when an athlete feels personally responsible for a loss it is up to them to take accountability and move on from it. As a parent, you can be a shoulder to lean on and a sounding board for them to vent to.
Taking initiative to help your athlete cope with their failure can go a long way.
You should allow your athlete to take accountability for their failure, as it will help them to grow, but reinforcing them and assisting in building up their mental fortitude is the best response that a parent can have.
Take some of the pressure off by assuring them that the game could have gone a different way. Harry Kane’s teammates had multiple opportunities to score prior to his penalty kick, but it was his missed chance that everyone gives credit for the loss. Team sports are about the whole team. Individual successes and failures comprise the team’s results, but no one athlete should have to shoulder each loss.
Make it clear to your athlete that more opportunities will arise, and that they can use this particular moment to be prepared for their next chance. Helping to shape your athlete into one who is accountable for their mistakes and who has the confidence to keep trying will not only lead them to greater success in sports but in life as well.
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