For any child to be able to learn, grow as a human and learn about life there have to be moments of failure and during their sporting career there will be many.

The children feel bad, you feel bad as a parent but there is nothing that you can do about it?  Well actually there is and failure is a golden chance for both you and your child to turn a negative into a positive.  Failure should purely be seen as an opportunity to learn!

I guess the million dollar question then is, how do I help my child deal with failure?

  1. Don’t lose your cool with them
  2. Don’t get angry
  3. Listen to what your child has to say- ask them for their feelings?
  4. Encourage them to try new things and that failure is part and parcel of the process.
  5. Minimise criticism
  6. Keep losing in perspective
  7. Be a good role model
  8. Be understanding of the situation

As parents we can play a key role in guiding our children’s behaviour.  Let them know that being unable to do something and fail is absolutely fine.  With hard work and perseverance a task that seemed out of reach will soon be very achievable. Encourage them to try different solutions and problem solve for themselves without doing it all for them.

This will help create an environment which will allow them to adopt a ‘growth mindset’ as opposed to a ‘fixed mindset’, a key trait if they are going to have an enjoyable and successful sporting career.


The key message to take from this is, stay in control of your emotions and behaviour.  Be aware of any negative body language, children can pick up on this in adults very quickly and you can be doing a lot of damage without even speaking.

Certainly as they grow up one of their biggest hates is being embarrassed, don’t do that to them and  try to be understanding and empathetic in what you say.

If you can bear in mind some of these messages you will be well on the way to understanding that failure is quite simply an opportunity to learn and improve!

This blog has been written by Gordon MacLelland, the Founder of

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