Remember the big picture during the playoffs

By Taylor Lydon | Posted 11/20/2017

Playoff time can be intense, hyper-competitive, exhilarating or heartbreaking. These moments are great opportunities to focus on teachable moments. Whether your team dominates a rival team or is on the losing end of a last-second thriller, there is a moment where lessons can be learned about life. Coaches and parents, we ask you to take the time this season to not just focus on the scoreboard result of your child’s game, but try to pull out moments through the postseason when they grew as a person.

Dacher Keltner, UC Berkeley psychology professor and director of the Greater Good Science Center, says one of the profound opportunities that leaders and coaches have in sports is helping athletes understand they are learning life lessons. Although sometimes moments can seem overwhelming to athletes, when coaches and parents bring in this perspective and put difficult moments into context, it can help the athlete realize that every moment fits into a broader process.

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So as you watch your team or your child throughout this postseason, make an effort to discuss their effort goals rather than the results on the scoreboard. We all want to end the season with a win, but when that is not the case, we can still recognize smaller wins.

Here are a few tips on how to recognize the teachable moments with your children:

  • "Ask rather than tell."
  • Identify positive and negative life lessons.
  • Find examples of your child, teammates or opponents thanking officials.
  • Notice when your child or a friend picks up their teammates and/or opponents.

To learn more about teachable moments and how to discuss them with your athletes, head to

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