During play today, someone stepped on that purple toe of hers and she cringed, held back the tears and told me "Dad, someone stepped on my toe." I told her to take a seat and had someone come in for her. But, that was it. With such an emotional young lady, all she needs is something like that, and the emotional faucet starts to flow.
Later, she got back on the court and during one play was standing around, not moving very much. The other coach called her on it, and said she needs to move around. This touched her deep in her heart. She wants to please so badly. She never wants to disappoint, especially somone like a teacher or a coach. I could tell she was fighting to hold back the tears. Her face got that contorted look only a preteen gets when she doesn't want her peers to see her lose it.
I could have told her to suck it up. I could have said for her to sit it out until she regained her composure. I could have consoled her. But, instead, I safety-netted. I looked away and let her figure this out on her own. The next play she was moving all over the court, and the other coach made a big deal of it. But, even at the water break, she was still upset. So, I went and talked with another player to allow Riley to work through it.
When she got back on the court, she scored the next three baskets, and walked off the court at the end of practice with a wonderful grin. She had to deal with this blow on her own so that she could learn from it and then appreciate the success that followed. When I asked her on the ride home how she think practiced went, she grinned and told me, "Great! Did you see? I was on fire!"
image courtesy ©iStockphoto.com/Mlenny