As sports tryouts begin with the new school year, many New Jersey parents will be faced with disappointed players who won't make the final cut. But the heartache can be channeled into a positive learning experience, according New Jersey family therapist Dr. Marty Tashman.


Athletes possessing the most "grit" or having perseverance and not refusing to give up are the ones who end up succeeding, not necessarily the players with the most talent, Tashman points out.

"So, every time a youngster has a failure or doesn't get picked, it really is an opportunity to develop some resiliency," said Tashman.

Allow the child to go through a mourning period of being upset and angry, and once those feelings subside, Tashman suggests having them reflect on what they did well at the try out, and what other players who made the team did differently.

Parents should also ask their son or daughter what they want to do next, according to Tashman.

"Asking them is giving them a sense of empowerment," Tashman said. Then, parents can help their child come up with a plan with time-specific goals to improve those skills, to avoid having the player completely give up.

"It teaches the youngster that losing or not being picked isn't the end of the story," said Tashman. He added, "There's going to be setbacks, and it isn't about the setbacks that you have, it's about what you do with them when you meet them."

Tashman reiterated handling the situation boils down to "becoming aware, not thinking you're entitled, but figuring out what hard work is going to bring you, and being able to focus it, and sometimes asking for help."

Contact reporter Dianne DeOliveira at

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