The Car Ride Home
29 June 2021
“What were you doing?” “Why didn’t you pass the ball to the WA?” “You know I told you to practise shooting over the weekend ….” Suncorp Team Girls ambassador and author Rebecca Sparrow reflects on the importance of the car ride home from netball.
Ahhh, the car trip home after a disastrous game of netball. Maybe your daughter’s team played badly or maybe your daughter had a bad day on the court. Either way, it can be hard as a *cough* enthusiastic, invested parent to let it go.
Our natural instinct at times is to bombard our kids with questions the moment they get in the car. And that makes for a pretty awkward and tense car trip home.
When our kids have a bad game – and when it comes to playing sport that’s inevitable – it’s actually a unique opportunity for us as parents to lean in with comfort (not judgement!) and be their soft place to fall
Keep these tips in mind next time your daughter has a disastrous game …
- Don’t ask WHY questions: Why did you make that pass? Why did you shoot from there? Why did you let that girl get in front of you? Why are you angry? The problem with asking kids ‘Why?’ is that so often tweens and teens have no idea how they’re feeling or why they made the choice they did. This is why the answer is usually ‘I don’t know!’ … because they don’t! It’s incredibly hard for kids to analyse their motivations or thought processes. So be less Judge Judy in the car and give your daughter time to process how she feels.
- You set the tone: Your attitude in the car can play a critical part in how your daughter processes her performance. If you seem angry, she may feel ashamed and angry at herself. On the other hand, if you bombard her with false positives like “I think you played great!” when it’s clear that she really didn’t – that doesn’t help either. Instead, try something like, “That was a tough game today – I think we deserve a milkshake” or play some of her favourite music. Keep the tone upbeat rather than doom and gloom.
- Don’t start pointing fingers: The car ride home is not the time to start sledging teammates and coaches.
- Do focus on positives when your daughter is ready to talk - point out the things she did well! Look at the big picture of how she’s improved and gently prompt her to come up with ideas of what she could perhaps do differently next time.
- Do Google videos of Australian Diamonds players talking about their worst days on court. It can help your daughter see that having a bad day happens to even the strongest players! Check out netball legend and Suncorp Team Girls ambassador Laura Geitz below talking about some of disappointments along her netball journey.
- Do talk to your daughter about self-care..when you’re feeling low because of a bad day on court or a bad day at school, it’s a good time to reach into your self-care toolbox. A warm bath, listening to music, playing with a pet, baking, colouring-in, playing a musical instrument, watching your favourite tv show, catching up with a trusted friend…these can all lift our spirits and help us to see our ‘failure’ in a more realistic light.
Suncorp Team Girls ambassador and netball legend Laura Geitz reflects on how she dealt with disappointment in her career
Hi everyone, my name is Laura Geitz and I wanted to share with you a challenge that I faced on the court during my career.
I was just breaking into the Australia netball team and in that Goal Keeper’s position. As many of you may have experienced in your careers is that sometime in your career you need to have some time on the bench to get that time on the court that you so desperately want.
And that was certainly the case for me. I had broken into the team but I was sitting behind some more experienced players and I was desperate to get out onto the court and prove to the coach Norma Plummer and the other Australian Diamonds teammates that I was capable of doing the job back there at Goal Keeper.
There was this one particular tour heading over to New Zealand and I had been training quite well and feeling confident and felt as though that Norma Plummer felt the same and was finally going to give me the opportunity to start against Irene van Dyk who was the Goal Shooter for the Silver Ferns. The game was in Wellington. It was game one of a test series.
What I didn’t know was that my family had travelled over from home to support me. Had they have told me that I would have told them “don’t waste your money - you will just see me sitting on the bench”. They must have known something because I did get that start and it was as though all the stars were aligning and it was the perfect platform for me to be starting the game against the best goal shooter in the world Irene van Dyk with my family in the crowd.
It was looking like heading in that direction but in the first opening quarter Irene van Dyk shot 15 goals on me and I was dragged to the bench. It was the poorest performance from me and I felt exceptionally disheartened.
What I did learn from that though was I went away and I suppose made the desire to be better out on the court. I was a little bit angry and frustrated so I went away and searched about how I could be better in those moments. And I look back at that moment and I think I probably learnt more from that failure than if it been a success.
That’s my message to you, sometimes when you fail more learning happens in those moments that if you actually are successful. Wishing you all the very best for your journey.
- Lara Dunkley and her parents’ dedicated driving
- Gretel Bueta and the importance of confidence
- Committed to keeping girls in the game
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