Sports mama tip: 3 things to say to your athlete after every game

By Vanessa Mejia | Posted 6/21/2018

I'll admit it. I'm always happier when my boys win than when they lose. However, I also know that losing is just as much a part of the game as winning is.

How else would they know how good it feels to win if they never lost?

And while it may seem natural to come down on our kid(s) after a subpar performance and/or loss ("Why didn't you take more shots? Do you want to lose your starting spot? You should've done this instead."), it's best to not treat them much more differently than we would had they won.

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Are you the parent of a youth, middle school or high school football player who’s looking for more tips or resources? Check out our Parent Guide, Parents 101 course, nutritious recipes and more.

Youth sports are supposed to be fun. But if we continually put more emphasis on the bad rather than the good, our young athletes may begin to resent them and see them more as a job than a hobby.

So what should we be saying to our children after their games?

Here are three things to get into the habit of saying to your young athlete after each and every game, regardless of the outcome:

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  1. Did you try your best? Just like with everything else they put their minds to. No one's saying they have to hit as many 3-pointers as Steph Curry, but they should be giving the same full effort he does.
  2. Did you have fun? If they're not enjoying themselves, it may be time to re-evaluate things. Youth sports require a lot of time and sacrifice (from both the athletes and us mamas!) Be sure you're investing in something that brings them joy.
  3. I love watching you play! We wouldn't sign them up season after season if this wasn't the case. Am I right? Be sure they know that a game is just a game and that you are, and always will be, their number one fan ... regardless of the score!

As the mother of two teenagers now, one who's entering into his first season of high school football, I can tell you this for a fact: The days are long but the years are (way too) short.

Enjoy every moment, Mamas!

Vanessa Mejia is the mother of three football-playing boys, ages 14, 12 and 9, and lives in northern Virginia. Her boys also play basketball, soccer and track and field. Her husband coaches football in the Fairfax County Youth Football League. She shares Team Mom ideas, tips and tricks along with other facets of her family’s life away from the football field. For this blog, she asked her sons and their teammates why they're most thankful for their mothers within the context of football. Read more of her work at