Set the tone before the match
Before their tournament, find a time to talk to your child about their upcoming match. Remind them that this isn’t just about the outcome, but the experience as a whole. Don’t forget to tell them that having fun at the tournament is more important to you than the outcome.
When you set the expectation from the beginning, it can help take the pressure away from coming off the mats with a win.
Let them feel their feelings + offer support
After their match, give them some space to feel their feelings. Go on a quick walk outside the arena or find a quiet area where they can sit and talk about how the match went if they want to. Listen, be sympathetic and give them the time and space to vent their frustrations or sadness.
Focus on the positives
When you lose, it’s easy to get stuck in a negative headspace. Offer up some positive moments from their match to focus on. This will help them break the cycle of replaying everything they think they did wrong during the match that led to the outcome.
Sometimes you don’t win, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t good moments during the match.
Emphasize the learning opportunity
How can you know what you need to work on without losing? With every loss comes a chance to improve.
Emphasize that this loss just shows them where they need to work a little harder within their Jiu Jitsu. They can work with their coaches after the tournament on filling any holes in their game.
Reference professional athletes who have experienced a loss
Does your child have a professional athlete they look up to? That athlete didn’t get to where they are without experiencing loss either.
LeBron James has lost three NBA Finals to the San Antonio Spurs and three more against the Golden State Warriors. Losing is a part of life, and it happens to everyone.
Celebrate their match, regardless of the outcome
Even though they didn’t win, it’s still impressive that they put themselves out there and gave it their best. Not everyone does that.
Go out to their favorite restaurant or celebrate with ice cream after the match anyways. Losing doesn’t mean they have to be sad forever.