Your children can teach you very valuable lessons. What we tend to forget as adults is to not always aim for the stars because it may end up in disappointment. I am not saying that children do not end up disappointed but they do not limit their believes out of fear to be disappointed!
As parents, teachers or coaches I believe it is very important to understand this. It is never nice to see your child or pupil disappointed but I think it is worse to take away the believe that they cannot achieve the no.1 position they so badly want. They will have to learn to overcome their disappointment and start their next race with renewed believe for GOLD.
“After 6 events of disappointment for my son (we were very proud of his achievements, since he was top 10 in each and every event he competed in) he finally got his gold after 3 days of competing in the South African National Nipper (lifesavers to be) Championships. After having to console him over and over again and trying to explain how well he had really done it appeared to me that each and every time he went for Gold and Gold only……… Hold on he is 8 years old and has the will power to overcome the disappointment of not getting the gold and come back even stronger the next event. Do you as a parent/coach get disappointed……yes absolutely!!!! These kids are far more capable then we think physically and mentally, it is absolutely amazing.
First event flags he got sixth and with flags everything can happen on the day, the sand is uneven who you are next to plays an important role and your decision making in a split second can make or brake the race, a long story short, he made a wrong decision and became sixth did he exceed everybody’s expectations………..absolutely. Could he have gone further……..absolutely
Beach sprints he got 9th and did he ran his heart out, was he in the strongest heat possible yes. But that is the luck of the draw, could he therefor have gone to the A-final, absolutely. Did he deal with it….he sure did.
Body board he got 8th well what a race that was he paddled his heart out and was 3rd after the last buoy and he felt the silver was in reach……then the Ocean went flat and flat it went. The boys in the back got a wave and passed him and he only managed to go through the finish line in 8th place. Was he disappointed……………………….what could I answer him; he told me I paddled much harder then the other boys how come I didn’t at least get bronze. What can you tell him besides you were unlucky, this answer does not satisfy a boy that puts the effort in to go for gold. Fortunately later on he was able to witness for himself that it happens all the time in other races as well. He overcame it again.
Surf team swim all 3 boys swam like champs and they can be proud of their achievement because it wasn’t easy out their which I experienced myself when I had to do the surf swim myself for the fun race the next day, I was finished……that is all I can say!!!!!
Then the next day it was the bodyboard relay, the surf swim individual, the Taplin (run, swim, bodyboard) and the long run.
Knowing that about 5 months ago I had to convince my son to swim out into the sea and bodysurf back was at times a mission and a lot of self doubt had to be overcome, step by step and did he over come his doubts and built his confidence what an amazing achievement, was he disappointed with his 4th place………………yep, no medal, so again he was not a happy camper, could he have done any better, I don’t think so. Will he make a chance next year absolutely.
Then finally the last event on the last day was the long run, this was his last chance to get that long anticipated medal. Did he still have the BELIEVE after his disappointments the previous days and the same day? He sure did!!! Should I have told him to not have his hopes to high, because there was some fierce competition? Should you ever try and take the BELIEVE away to guard him from disappointment……………my opinion is absolutely not. Should we as grown up take this as an example I believe so!!!
Well off they went and then they disappear along the beach and you are not able to see a thing as they fade into the distance. They get to the turnaround point and the pace increases. What goes through the head of a 8 year old competitor………I am not sure…….
As they came back and started to appear back into vision I could see he was in front due to his running style. I don’t think it is possible to hear anything over a distance of 300 meters on a beach with the wind blowing but let’s just say I have my voice back again today. As he came closer to the finish line there was one more look behind and there he came after 3 days of overcoming disappointment in the last race he got his gold medal.
Now that was fulfillment I was able to pick him up after the race and what a feeling. He had persevered he got what he came for!!!!
I think all his other achievements were as good as the last one this one was just the most rewarding for him. Well done my boy, we are very proud of you. You had a fantastic 3 day competition and you can see there are relationships being built already with other competitors and off coarse team mates and I know that those relationships will be stronger and stronger in the years to come. I am looking forward to see how all the nippers develop over the years regardless of performance, but as human beings because in the end each and every child will learn life skills in this sport that will be with them for life!