School has started and lots of young athletes will be trying out for school teams. And some kids will fail to make the team. Others won’t get the playing time they think they deserve. This time of year, I get lots of calls from parents of young athletes who are upset about their child’s role in sports and their setback involving the team.

“My son is heartbroken. He thought he would start on the team for sure.”

“My daughter would rather quit the team then play junior varsity again.”

“The coach seems to pick his favorites. My daughter won’t get any playing time.”

“My child plays great until the coaches start watching him perform. Then he is very anxious and he does not perform well.”

My child does not get along well with the coach.Their poor relationship is impacting his playing time.

When a youngster fails to make a team at school, he or she can be quite disappointed, hurt, angry and upset. Similarly, the child’s parents can be quite unhappy about their son or daughter’s set back.

There are a number of things parents can do when their child is cut from a school team. Some of the ideas that are noted in this article pertain to strategies and tactics for parents and kids prior to the tryouts. Others pertain to what to do after your child fails to make the team.

First, it is important to have an accurate understanding of your child’s strengths and weaknesses before the tryouts are held. Have your youngster evaluated by a competent and honest coach and find out what he or she needs to work on before the season begins. If possible, have your child talk to the coach ahead of time, so that you can get a sense as to what the coach or coaches are looking for.

Second, determine how serious your child is about his or her sport. Some kids want to play on a competitive level, while others prefer playing at a recreational level.

Third, get a sense of what other students have done to make the team. For instance, if your child is a tennis player or a golfer have them work with a coach who has a lot of students who have made the school team in the past.

Fourth, determine if your child is more comfortable with individual sports or with team sports. This is very important and parents need to realize this preference can change as kids mature. One of my patients shifted from the football team to the golf team in his junior year of high school. He grew to love golf and preferred an individual sport at this time in his life.

Do not immediately call the coach to complain. This is often not the right strategy and you may set a bad example for your child if you proceed in this manner.

If your child fails to make the team, make sure he or she feels loved and supported by you. Your child needs to feel that he or she is okay whether they play ball at school or not.

Remind your child that Michael Jordan had difficulty making his school team.

Talk to your child about continuing to work at their sport and ask them to consider trying out again next year. Remind your youngster about the value of trying hard and hanging in there.

Talk about the possibility of playing another sport or becoming involved in another activity.

Consider teams not affiliated with the school.

Use this setback as a teaching moment where your child can learn something about being resilient and courageous.

Consider talking to the coach, so you can learn more about what he or she is looking for in athletes.

Determine if your youngster needs help with skills, mental training, self-confidence, strength training, or nutrition. If he or she does, you may want to consult a professional in the appropriate field.

Author's Bio: 

Jay P. Granat, Ph.D. is a psychotherapist in River Edge, New Jersey and the Founder of