Let Kid’s Fail
by Allistair McCaw
This is something I’m big on when it comes to training young kids, and that’s allowing them to make mistakes, take risks and FAIL.In fact, before I start a training session with young kids, one of my main requests besides great effort is that I see ‘good mistakes’.Let me start by saying this: I LOVE FAILURE. BECAUSE IT TEACHES ME MORE THAN SUCCESS.To many want to play it safe. If you are continually practicing and playing like this you end up playing in fear, in other words you are afraid of failing.My message for coaches is stop aiming for ‘pretty practices’, practices that may look good on the outside, but are not presenting problems for kids to solve. Messy is good, but structured messy is even better.One of my favorite sayings is: There is no such thing as perfect practice, only perfect effort.Remember that your habits in practice visit you when you are under pressure (like in a match). Do you tighten up afraid to make a mistake? Or do you keep swinging freely and sticking to the process, knowing you will make mistakes, but are doing the right thing in the longer term?I tell my kids before they compete, win or lose, my assessment is on the good mistakes you make, and that takes the pressure right away from them.So parents and coaches, allow your kids to make mistakes, allow them to learn how to fail. Let them figure out how to solve their own problems. Stop jumping to their aid every time a challenge arises. Help them develop a growth mindset of learning how to deal with difficulty and challenges.It’s the choices we make along the way that make the journey so rich, so don’t rob yourself of that experience.To me, structured and purposeful messy is better than perfect and unproductive safety.