You know how we as parents would always soften the blow when the kids don’t win. In soccer’s context, if the kids lose a game, they feel bad and we will go, “It’s alright. You have tried your best. That’s all that matters.”
We say that because it’s a kind thing to say. We say that because we don’t want the kids to feel bad or worse, scarred emotionally for life.
However, that also means that the kids don’t feel the pressure or urgency of numbers. At least in our case, I know Z is oblivious to game scores but when it comes to sudden death, I have seen him having difficulty in coping. He was stressed and unable to play normally.
The best lesson from his tennis coach is now how he teaches the strokes but how he gets him to feel comfortable with scores. He plays little games like poison ball (for footwork) and challenges Z to score 10 points. If he defaults, the coach gets the point.
During one of these mini games, the score was 6-2, 7-2, 8-2, 9-2 against Z. Even though it was not in Z’s favour, the coach said, “Believe in yourself. Anything can happen.”
Then the game became to reverse 9-3, 9-4 and all the way to 9-10.
I could see the coach helping him but above all, I was impressed with the lesson.