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Kids and tournaments

ktm300ktm300 Posts: 386 Baller
edited July 2013 in Other Stuff
My 12 yo daughter gets so nervous at tournaments that we have yet to have one where she did not cry both on the way there and while skiing in it. Literally crying while running passes. We put no pressure on her whatsoever. I told her she should not ski tournaments if it makes her miserable and that skiing is what we do for fun. I tell her that the effort is the only thing that matters and that the results are irrelevant. Despite all of this, she says she wants to ski tournaments. Despite the nerves and crying, she skis well in tournaments and set a PB in the last one [email protected] The week prior to a tournament is usually a practice disaster because she becomes paralyzed with worry about the tournament. For those of you who have already blazed this trail, I would appreciate some advice. If she could get over the nerves she has the skills to run 28. I am thinking about ditching the tournaments altogether so she can just work on her skills and learning new passes without the pressure. Thanks.


  • WishWish Posts: 7,294 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    edited July 2013
    28 off or 28mph? Kids in general want to please their parents. Good grades, good at sports. They look for ways to accomplish this. They see the passion in a parent for a particular thing. This is not all kids. My daughter has not done this but has found other ways to get that praise. I suggest really diving into her motivation for skiing tournaments. Lots of open ended questions and none of the yes/no type or leading questions. Get her talking in a nutral location (away from the lake). Place where she feels most comfortable. What she is doing IMHO is not the norm and there is an alterior motive as to why she puts herself through this. Also 12yrs old there can be a tremendous amount of hormonal changes depending on waight. Sounds like you dug somewhat but may need to dig a little more.
    >>> 11.25..a different kettle of fish. <<<
  • ralral Posts: 1,682 Mega Baller
    She might be telling you that she wants to compete because she thinks she will make you happy... or not, she might really like it. Difficult to tell, but I think you are doing the right thing by first letting her know that she can decide. Not sure if it would be a good idea to take yourself the decision of ditching tourneys...

    How many tournaments does she ski every season? If she really likes it and she competes just in a few (hence panic is because of failing and carrying that burden for a long time), you might put some practice tournaments every week in your lake (e.g. "tournament set" every Thursday, like on a regular tournament, with PB and all, if she goes down in 1 she stops and that's it).
    Rodrigo Andai
  • ktm300ktm300 Posts: 386 Baller
    @Wish 28off.

    @RAL good idea. We'll try some imaginary tournaments.

    I am seeing lots of tears and emotional stuff from other girls her age too (not to same degree). She is happy as a can be playing with kids in between rounds. Forum may not be the best place to seek psych advice but, this forum collectively seems to come up with some good answers to most things. My kid puts pressure on herself on everything not just skiing. I am trying to teach her that perfect is the enemy of good and that failures are just speed bumps and learning opportunities. She totally agrees and understands intellectually but, the emotional side is winning at the moment.
  • kmenardkmenard Posts: 158 Baller
    Better to learn how to deal with her anxiety now than later in life. Just keep being supportive. The nice thing about kids who have the innate drive to do well is you are coaching them to control it, not always having to light a fire under their arse.
  • footloose42footloose42 Posts: 84 Baller
    My waterskiing rule of thumb: no matter how good you get, there will always be a 12 year old somewhere who's better than you.
  • sunperchsunperch Posts: 209 Solid Baller
    edited July 2013
    You may want to remind her that most of the people on the shore have no idea what speed or line length she is starting at, if she is able to make her first 2 passes, everyone will think she is skiing very well. That may take the pressure off of her for thinking she has to make her harder passes. Our 11 y.o daughter and her friends like to sing bubblegum pop songs on the starting dock, so they are not really thinking about skiing, just having fun. Her nerves are manifested by over-excitement not tears. Another thing we have tried is to have her listen to her MP3 with a few of her favorite songs a few skiers before she is up (although this backfired when she told me I was sucking the fun out of it, so we immediately sent her back to dock with her friends).
  • jipster43jipster43 Posts: 1,400 Crazy Baller
    Being a parent is hard! Maybe a top sports psychologist could help. They tend to be more experienced with these type of things.
  • Bruce_ButterfieldBruce_Butterfield Posts: 1,308 Mega Baller
    KTM - a few questions to get calibrated:

    1. Does she want to ski, or do you have to push her to get out on water and practice?
    2. Does she work really hard to do well in school and other sports?
    3. Does she just slalom, or trick & jump as well?
    4. Are there other kids around? Does she compare herself to them? Are they "healthy" competitors?
    5. Have you taken her to any Junior Development events?
    6. Does she get nervous in other settings? i.e. school tests, hanging with friends, or anything out of the routine?
    7. Are your practice routines intense, or focus on fun?
    8. How long has she been skiing tournaments? Are the tournaments at familiar sites, or new ones?
    9. Any siblings? Do they ski?

    If she puts pressure on herself in other situations, that is a sign of self motivation, which is a good thing as long as it can be kept in perspective.
    If it was easy, they would call it wakeboarding.
  • Than_BoganThan_Bogan Posts: 6,041 Mega Baller
    I'm sure as hell not a psych-anything, but I will note a 12 y.o. girl with a chance to run -28 is seriously driven. So that has to be factored in. I can't guess whether she just has a giant desire to ski more buoys (like most of us) and hasn't learned how to handle this drive yet, or whether there is something more problematic going on. But I definitely think it's a big factor in the story that she is skiing that well.

    Almost related: Some of the things I've enjoyed the most in my life, viewed from a neutral perspective, might not look like I was having any fun at all. Frustration and failure ultimately drive me, and I can't get the sense of accomplishment that is so damn fun unless it's really hard to get there! There's only a handful of sports where the basic design is "go until you fail." And yet my top two that I've enjoyed the most both fall into this category: slalom and high jump.

    Plus, if anybody ever saw me playing pinball, you'd be pretty convinced that I absolutely hated the game. I came real close to being kicked out of an arcade in the MIT basement a couple of times, actually -- as best I recall the only times I've been near to being kicked out of anything! But that heated relationship with the game was an awesome change of pace that then allowed me to resume my studies from a refreshed mind-frame. Oh, and I graduated as the Grand Champion of Terminator 2 (highest score anybody achieved in the 5 years I was there).
    Nathaniel Bogan -- GUT Padawan
  • Chef23Chef23 Posts: 5,621 Mega Baller
    @ktm300 first of all your daughter is a great little skier. For me with my son the big key was to emphasize that the world doesn't end with a bad tournament round to try and take some of the nerves away. The other key is to have her ski tournaments to get more comfortable doing it.

    For my son skiing other events helps. My son missed his opening pass at his first regionals (and his first Nationals) but he also tricks and jumps so he had other chances to get on the water and have good results.

    Also if she has some other friends at the tournaments that will help. It is supposed to be fun and you want her to want to go to the tournaments and have a good time.
    Mark Shaffer
  • walleyewalleye Posts: 181 Baller
    edited July 2013
    @Bruce Butterfield I would like to hear answers to your questions with solutions. Can you fill in the blanks with your experience, or KTM 300's maybe a Dr Phil format. I will shoot My daughters answers to your questions. We feel she is getting frustrated, the self drive has dropped by 50%. We are of mindset it is teenage growing pain & our lake is so boring nobody uses it. Family talk last nite she confirmed really driven to do tournies but tired of going to lake and nobody to play with. Anyone with kids and want a place to ski let me know.

    1. She wants to ski, we do not have to push her.
    2. Some she does some not, based what she likes.
    3. just slalom
    4. Yes, No, Not sure of what healthy means but they are all nice and friends.
    5. No
    6. No
    7. Focus on fun
    8. She is 11 been skiing Tournies since 5.
    9. Fuzzy head little brother, hate each other with a passion. Says mam-mma miss every time he starts his ups....feeling a mutual.

    @Than_Bogan I know you want to talk about me but I think the subject is about kids.
  • ktm300ktm300 Posts: 386 Baller
    1. Does she want to ski, or do you have to push her to get out on water and practice? Wants to; sometimes needs to be encouraged.
    2. Does she work really hard to do well in school and other sports? Driven to and does excel in academics. Works hard at everything (which I love).
    3. Does she just slalom, or trick & jump as well? Slalom only. Tricks seldomly.
    4. Are there other kids around? Does she compare herself to them? Are they "healthy" competitors? Other kids around who are great support for her.
    5. Have you taken her to any Junior Development events? Yes. Should do it more. At one today.
    6. Does she get nervous in other settings? i.e. school tests, hanging with friends, or anything out of the routine? School tests evoke similar issue with anxiety. Getting better though. Has good healthy social life with no issues there.
    7. Are your practice routines intense, or focus on fun? Never intense but not goofing off either while set is underway.
    8. How long has she been skiing tournaments? Are the tournaments at familiar sites, or new ones? Third year skiing tourn. Mostly sites she skis regularly
    9. Any siblings? Do they ski? No

  • Bruce_ButterfieldBruce_Butterfield Posts: 1,308 Mega Baller
    Walleye, sorry, this is not an alacarte issue. That't why I asked so many questions - the whole environment has to be considered. Seems like the best thing you can do is to get her around more kids and focus on the fun aspects of the sport.

    KTM, sounds like your kid will be successful in whatever she does! All of your responses seem "normal" for a self motived person. The tears will pass soon (she's a girl after all), but I suspect she will be hard on herself for a long time - that is a common trait among successful people (and especially athletes). The best thing you can do is teach her to keep a positive attitude and focus on good outcomes instead of being nervous. One of the most important things an athlete can learn is to block out negatives and focus on good/positive results.

    Get her on a trick ski. No matter if she turns into a trick fiend or not, it will help her slalom and provide really good cross training. Get a Reflex hardshell and whatever 42" trick ski you can find on ski-it-again. Check the trick thread comments from Russell Gay for startup advice.

    The tournaments are an important part of skiing - the more she skis, the more normal they will be. I have been really impressed with the junior development tournaments we have in the SCR and the friendships that the kids develop. If you can get to tournaments with other kids around, the fun/excitement/desire will improve dramatically.

    One other thing to think about that you don't need to respond to is the family dynamic - does your daughter respond better to you or your wife? Does one of you push hard the other more relaxed? Again, focus on positive and enjoying the sport.

    Than - seriously?!?!? getting kicked out of an arcade in the MIT basement a couple of times. You are one troubled individual.
    If it was easy, they would call it wakeboarding.
  • XR6HurricaneXR6Hurricane Posts: 327 Baller
    I usually cry AFTER I ski because of how bad I am.

    I don't have kids so take this with a grain of salt, but it sounds like she just takes it (and other things in her life) seriously and might just be putting herself under a lot of pressure because she wants to do well. I was the same way. I took fishing way too seriously when I was her age and I burned myself out on it. Don't let that happen to her, especially if she has what it takes to be really good. Most of my best and most fun skiing (and fishing) outings came totally unexpectedly. The same thing holds true for my other hobbies. These things are supposed to be fun. The truth is that ALL sports have become way too over-complicated and serious.

  • HO 410HO 410 Posts: 351 Baller
    If the trip too is tough, but the rest of the day is fine, a good place to start is look at ways to defuse the tension of anticipation. Singing out loud, word games, riddles, mental math, planning for a school project, maybe even talking about skiing if it doesn't feed that loop of anxiety.

    Nikon D80, 50mm f 1.8, Tokina 12-24mm... Sorry, wrong forum. Josh T.
  • webbdawg99webbdawg99 Posts: 1,067 Mega Baller
    @ktm300 I think Mr. Butterfield has hit the nail on the head. My wife and I have seen your daughter at the last 2 tournaments we attended. She seems to have the kindest demeanor and always has a big smile on her face. So much so, that my wife commented about it several times! I think you have a "high achiever" on your hands. You should definitely be a proud pop.....and I know you are!
  • ktm300ktm300 Posts: 386 Baller
    Thank you Adam. Despite being down a whole pass Sat., the tears only lasted for about 10 minutes. Yeah! Last year they lasted for 4 days. The girls she skis with and against are class acts. They are some of the best mannered, genuinely kind and supportive kids around. The apples don't fall far from the trees; my thanks and admiration for the parents of the GA junior skiers.

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