There’s No Crying in Basketball

Last night was the first night of 2012 Tykes basketball.  We’ve been off for about a month for Christmas and New Years.  The kids responded as though they’d been away for 4 weeks.

Our entire time didn’t show up on time for this late game (7-8pm – which is later than usual) and they were very diligent in bringing their emotions with them.  Between both teams of 6-8 years olds I counted 8 emotional breakdowns from 5 different kids (3 of the kids were on my team).  This is out of 14 kids total.

Some were upset because they weren’t getting passed too, others because they couldn’t score.  Some welled-up because they were being played too hard defensively and others broke down because they accidentally hit someone on the opposite team.

I realized last night how much coaching tykes is about managing emotions.  I still do not think there’s place for crying in sport and that as coaches we need to gradually toughen kids up (so that in the game they have mental toughness) but as a coach you’re playing the long game.  You cannot expect a 6-8 year old to be that tough.

Highlight of the Night: My daughter got a little bop on the cheek while being defended.  Normally I’d say “toughen up” but because I sensed the emotional tone of the game I just gave her the out to sit down and collect herself.  While sitting on the sidelines being over comforted by her mom, a grandmother of one of the other girls on our team spoke to her.  She said, “Hey…does your cheek hurt as much as my husbands ear?”. The old man’s ear was bandaged up and packed with gauze – looking like it was one stitch away from falling off.  She looked dumbfounded at the geriatric pair.  My wife held back her snickers and perspective was given.  My daughter pulled herself together and got back on the court asap.

Good work granny!!  There’s no crying in basketball.

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