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Tips for Checking your Emotions at the Gym door

Updated: Mar 23, 2020

Parents, this one is for you.

I was coaching in Louisville, Kentucky at the Bluegrass volleyball tournament a few weeks ago. Our court was an hour and forty-five minutes behind schedule before our pool even began. There were 116 courts and approximately 8 teams per court per day. If each team averages 10 and each kid on the team had two spectators, which is roughly 27,840 people under one roof.

Emotions are SURE to be heightened, right?

How do your teenagers respond when they’ve been doing things all day - homework/practice/other after school extracurriculars? Probably cranky, irritable, short-tempered. Teens do not have the frontal lobe development yet to always be capable of controlling their emotional reactions.

But what about parents that have been in a gym all day with the same amount of people, same loud whistles and excessive noise? Is it ever okay for a parent to throw a tantrum?

On Saturday night, I witnessed a close match being played by a team no older than 16. At one point in the match, a grown adult mother of a player, unhappy with the call from the working team, walked onto the court, snatched a lines judge flag from a teenager and told her she could do a better job than the kid. THIS REALLY HAPPENED, Y’ALL. The coach of the kid stepped in and told the mom to leave the court. Now, in what world do we think it is okay to yell at SOMEONE ELSE’S CHILD for making a mistake?

Here is a reminder that your kids respond and mirror YOUR behavior. What you say, your child will learn and repeat. How to respond to adversity, your child will respond in that same way.

Here are some tips for you when you feel your emotions beginning to spiral:

Acknowledge your feelings- recognize you are losing control

Seek perspective- step back, look around and see how others are responding, move if you feel you are being fueled by others’ negativity

Take responsibility for your attitude - admit to yourself that no one has control over your emotions but you

Self soothe - take a walk, scroll on your phone, go refill your water bottle, go get some snacks

Identify the underlying root - this one may not happen in the moment. It’s important to recognize what hasn’t been resolved in your life that you feel so compelled to direct attention to yourself instead of making it about the athletes on the court

Parents! Be parents. Be the cheerleader and the encourager. All of the other roles are taken.

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