All athletes lose. And, as parents, it’s up to us to provide encouragement when our child’s cheerleading team doesn’t quite make the cut. Knowing how to approach this event is a crucial skill that will truly make a difference in an athlete’s career. First of all, realize that at some point every cheerleader will fail at something. This is the time to bring forth the qualities that they are best at and point out the things they’re doing correctly when competing. There are very tricky moves and stunts that are being performed. Keep note of the wins and the things they do perfectly, reminding them that they did so. Be sure to use a loving tone, and do not judge.

After they are able to calm down and discuss the event, bring up the triumphs and ask them about what may have been different during the competition. It is important for this to be a calm discussion, not a blame game. Be certain that your cheerleader knows you accept and love them no matter how they score. This will mean more than anything that they know you love them even when they make mistakes.

If it helps, tell them about times you have failed and how you handled it. Encourage them to try to focus on what parts did work and keep practicing aspects that may need more time to perfect. It is the final result of the season, not one single score, that matters. The ability to learn and challenge oneself is as important as the highest score they can receive while competing. The skills that are learned while competing will last them all their lives in dealing with the way society works. The ability and willingness to accept failure and try again is one of the most powerful qualities that anyone can learn.