Advice: worst on the team…

My family has just moved and I have started a new school. I thought it would be a good idea to join the school hockey team to make some new friends. I normally love playing sport but I haven’t played hockey before and now I’m realising I’m one of the worst players on the team (most of the others have already played together for a couple of years). I’m starting to get really paranoid about making mistakes and letting everyone down. I like the other girls and I like getting exercise, but what should I do?   

Sporty, 16, Vic

Andy Newson hockey freedigitalphotos netOur psychologist says: Good on you for taking the initiative and joining the hockey team. Not only is it a great way to get some exercise, but it also provides a perfect opportunity to build connections with others outside the classroom. Remember, hockey is a team sport and when people sign up they’re totally aware of this. The idea of a team sport is that everyone supports each other to do their best, so as a group they can reach their potential. As long as your team mates can see you’re trying your hardest and putting in 100% effort, they’re likely to forgive the odd missed shot or stumble. If your worries about your lack of expertise are really getting to you, speak up. Explain to your team mates that you can see you’re not quite at their level because this is your first season. Let them know you love playing the game, but you’re feeling uncomfortable about being the weakest player and don’t want to let them down. No doubt they’ll appreciate you care and can give you some reassurance. Show them that you’re motivated and keen to improve. Ask for tips and any constructive feedback about your game. Concentrate on just being ‘present’ and enjoying yourself on the field. Whenever concerns pop into your head, tell yourself to ‘let them go’ and shift your attention to the ball. Maintaining your focus (rather than letting your mind wonder off into ‘worry mode’), will help you perform at your peak and enjoy the game more.

Over to you:

Our psychologist has shared her ideas, but what do you think?

Have you got any suggestions for ‘Sporty, 16’ that might help her feel more comfortable and confident?



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