How should a 12-year old control her emotions during a game? : LUSENET : APA Division 47 Exercise and Sport Psychology : One Thread

My 12 year-old daughter is an excellent basketball player. However, she has difficulty controlling her emotions when she believes she has been unfairly treated by a referee or opposing player. i.e. - an obvious foul that is overlooked or trash talk. Other teams recognize that this takes her completely out of her game by exploiting this (so much for sportsmanship). Often she will come off of the floor after an incident and dissolves into tears. I have counseled her to ignore these and focus on her game. I am not even sure if it is the age but she is the only one I have seen that seems to have this happen. I am giving her a lot of positive support but what mental exercises can I use to help her keep these situations from affecting her. She tells me she loves to play but can't seem to overcome this hurdle.

-- Brad Adams (, January 26, 2000


she should bloomin well know that it is only a game so you should tell her what for...and give her no dinner when she gets home!

she will soon learn

-- Harry Winstain (, February 03, 2000.

As a former twelve-year-old girl (and basketball player I might add), my advice to you Brad, is to sit down with your daughter and ask her why it bothers her so much to be unfairly treated. Maybe there's another reason, that's totally unrelated to sports, such as interaction with siblings or classmates. Another technique you could try is to stop going to all of her games. Sometimes there's too much pressure on a pre-teen when her parents are at every game. Remember that fundamentally, she wants to please you, not just do well for herself or the team. If you're overly involved with her sports career, she may be feeling a lot of pressure from you to do well. She'll probably calm down when she realizes that you love her all the same, no matter how she performs. Good luck! :)


-- Thea Stoll (, February 07, 2000.

I am girl's basketball coach and will give you only my opinion. There is not a clearcut answer for changing this behavior, although it is a fact that it needs to stop now, bcause it will only escallate later. Without knowing your daughter, its impossible to say why she is acting this way, it could be something completely unrelated to basketball. What is her personality? Is she an overachiever in other areas? How much emphasis is placed on winning at home? These and other things all contribute and help explain this behavior. My advice to you as a parent is to definately keep going to all her games, that is an important message of love and support. Try to explain to her that there will never be a perfect referee in any game she plays, this is just one variable of basketball she can never change, she can only change her attitude about it. The only behavior she has complete control over on the court is hers, and its up to her how she behaves. When I have a player like this I will take them out of the game the instant I start to see them loose their cool and tell them I will put them back in as soon as they let me know they are under control. This gives them some control over the situation. If you are on good terms with the coach, you might discuss this with her. You can appeal to her sense of competetiveness,and explain how this helps the other team when she looses control. Give her a key word or phrase to think of when something happens she doesn't like-such as "focus on the ball" or "get my feet moving" "three deep breaths" the phrase doesn't really matter, its the act of getting to think about something else that is helping. This will take a little time , but this behavior can be changed.

-- lynda camenzind (, February 25, 2000.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ