With the junior sporting season kicking off this weekend, we are going to look at how young athletes can overcome the disappointment of not being selected in their preferred position. Unfortunately, we do not live in a perfect world, therefore plans you may have had, may have not gone perfectly.
This is a fact of life and completely relates to sport, school and life.
Below are 5 strategies to overcome selection disappointment:
1. Do not kick stones
The biggest mistake a young athlete can make is to drop their head. Because, just as that head drops, so does your attitude. Yes it does hurt - you have worked hard for months trying to secure that position. Rest assured, it is a long season and you will get an opportunity if your attitude remains high and you are continuing to put the team at the forefront.
2. Take it one week at a time
As just mentioned, it is a long season. You never know what may happen week to week. Do not believe for one second that just because your coach has chosen a particular team in round 1 that it will be the team in round 16. Go into each training session and game with an open mind and a good attitude ready to work and be a great teammate.
3. Work harder.
Really think why one player may be in your position instead of you. What are they doing better? Begin to work on what they are doing well and devote time to it. If you are unable to find a difference between the two of you, work on elements such as fitness, communication, technique and fundamental skills. Finally, ask yourself if your two training sessions per week is getting you to a point of properly challenging their position?
4. Talk to your coach
Coaches unfortunately can't read minds - they may not even know that you want to play in your preferred position. Politely, have a quick chat with your coach before or after training and just let them know that you would like to have a shot at that position at some point and that you are doing extra work to make it more of a reality.
In the case that your coach knows you want to be there, politely, go and ask what you need to work and improve on in order to be in contention for selection. Most coaches will respect the courage it takes to talk to them as opposed to giving them the cold shoulder for the rest of the year.
5. Do not play the blame game
It is so easy to point the finger at everyone but yourself.
"The coach doesn't like me, I didn't get good ball, training wasn't great" are all common excuses heard from junior players. The sooner you accept that at this point in time someone believes you aren't the right position for the position, the sooner you can begin moving on and putting the proper work in practise to be where you want to be.
Good luck to all this weekend, go out there an enjoy the beginning of a huge year ahead!