Tournaments are tough, and we’re proud of our kids for even finding the courage to compete. However, these matches don’t always go as planned, and sometimes as parents we have some damage-control to do afterwards. Don’t worry! These tearful moments can make wonderful opportunities to connect with your Little Tiger and make them feel better about themselves.
Check in with your Little Tiger
Before diving in on what happened during their matches, it’s important to check in with your child and make sure they’re ready to talk about it. They might need a few days after their loss to not feel so attached to the outcome. If they’re not ready, don’t push it.
Choosing the right place to speak to them about their loss is equally as important as choosing the right time. Directly after the match, next to the mats might not be an ideal spot. Try to go somewhere private or away from crowds before you check in to see if they’re ready to talk about it.
When they’re ready, choose a place they feel comfortable in, away from prying eyes that might make them feel self-conscious. This talk could be emotional for them, which can be distressing in a public place.
Focus on what they did well
Start the conversation off with the good moments they had from their tournament.
Focusing on the positives will remind them that they are good at this sport and know what their doing, during a time when they might be feeling pretty lousy about their performance.
Find the lesson or area of improvement
Sometimes, things don’t go our way — most-often, we will encounter opponents more experienced than us. It’s okay, it just shows your Little Tiger where they can improve their Jiu Jitsu. This is where you have the chance to frame a bad tournament as a learning experience.
Make a plan
Now that you’ve identified where they can improve, help them make a plan towards achieving this new goal. Tell them to set up time to talk to their coach about drilling specifics or ways they think they can do better next time. An action plan for improvement can help them build back confidence they’ve lost knowing there is a path to fix it. Plus, it will help them see their progression later, when they’ve mastered the new skill they set out to fix.
Not every Jiu Jitsu tournament will go as planned or hoped, it’s part of life and it’s part of the sport. But you can prepare for when those tournaments come and help your little tiger out of their post-tournament slump with tips like these.
For more on what to say to kids after a loss, check out our other blog post, “What To Say If Your Kids Lose Their Match!”