#88: Q&A: How Do I Help My Daughter Get Over Mistakes?

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What do you say to your daughter when she’s beating herself after mistakes?

Here’s a question from one of our Sports Moms Inner Circle moms relating to this kind of struggle. 

“My daughter plays well in games, at least I think she does, but afterward, she won’t stop beating herself up over a few mistakes. I usually try to tell her to move on and remember all the good things she did. However, it doesn’t really seem to work. Any suggestions on how to help her get over those mistakes and focus on what she had right instead?”

If you’re a sports mom, then you’ve probably been in this kind of situation. And every athlete has this struggle at some point in their sports journey. When your female athlete starts thinking and saying negative things about herself, what is the right thing to say?

Today we’re going to talk about why this happens and the different strategies you can use to help your daughter in these kinds of situations.

Struggle With Perfectionism 

Beating herself up after mistakes is often found in athletes who suffer from a touch of perfectionism. Everything has to be perfect or exactly right or they are unable to feel good about themselves. They’re frightened of disappointing their coaches, teammates, and you. They simply do not want to make mistakes for fear of disappointing others or lack a strategy or method for recovering from failures.

In this scenario, in the Elite Competitor Program, we teach our players a snapback practice to help them recover quickly from mistakes during practices and games and it typically doesn’t linger afterward as well. 

Perfectionism is one of a variety of reasons why athletes struggle with these moments, regardless of the reason, what matters is what we do about it.

Focusing on The Process

Athletes who struggle with negative thoughts need to have a really solid post-competition routine, that is how to focus on the process. This is something we teach inside the Elite Competitor Program. We train athletes in a very specific post-competition routine so that they can productively evaluate their performance. Because a lot of times, if they don’t have a productive way to process, they get stuck with focusing on outcomes. 

Help them to be process-wise instead of outcome-wise. 

The win-loss, the stats, and the mistakes are mostly an outcome and those outcomes don’t tell the full story.

When our athletes tie their confidence and how they perceive themselves to the outcome, they will always be on a roller coaster after such games. Athletes must have a thorough post-competition routine in order to process their performance.

This could include assisting them in determining what their aim was going into the competition, what they did well process-wise vs outcome-wise, and whether they achieved that goal or not.


We also teach a framework around this post-competition in our Elite Competitor Program so that sports parents have a routine to fall back on when supporting their daughter post-competition.

And the one that we teach is love… L-O-V-E. 

Each of those letters stands for something different, but I wanted to focus today on the most important point of  L-O-V-E and that is the letter V which symbolizes the word “VALIDATE”.

VALIDATE her sentiments and what she says. It might be as simple as one sentence. Allow her that room rather than forcing her to rush through the scenario.

And then the next piece of this validation is to ask some questions. Ask open-ended questions that are going to help her process in a really productive way. 

These kinds of questions will help her move past that mistake and stop dwelling on it as much. What we resist persists- if we’re just telling her to move past it, push it down, and focus on the good then that’s not sustainable.

There is some productivity that comes from pausing. 

You can tell her. “Yeah. I know what you feel and that’s okay” 

Give her some space and then ask those open-ended questions and see where that leads you. That’s going to help her move past it in a good way.

In summary, there are various reasons why athletes struggle with these negative thoughts. It might be because of some underlying perfectionism. Help her process her experiences with a post-competition routine, validate her feelings, and help her focus on process versus outcome. 


Helpful Links:

  • Join us inside our FREE Facebook Group – The Elite Competitor Society – for weekly Q&A, periodic trainings and challenges, and the support of an amazing community of moms, coaches, and the men who partner with us!

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