How to Handle an Overly-Competitive Athlete?

Competitive-AthletesA strong competitive nature can be a good asset for any athlete. After all, every sport, from baseball to swimming, is a competition. There is a winner and a loser. Without a strong will to win, why even compete? However, this competitive fire must be tempered by a strong moral compass – good sportsmanship. So what do you do when you have an overly-competitive athlete on your hand, a “Hyper Athlete?”

How to Handle an Overly-Competitive Athlete?

A hyper athlete is a player “who plays very hard, takes the game ultra-seriously, and hates losing with a passion,” according to MLB.com Digital Academy blogger Janis Meredith.

Overly-competitive athletes can be both a blessing and a curse. While a win at all costs mentality can certainly help a team win games, it can be difficult to console such an athlete after a tough loss…or any loss for that matter. Winning isn’t everything, as they say, but losing certainly isn’t fun. So it is important to know how to effectively manage such hyper athletes after a tough loss or a bad personal performance.

  1. Give Them Space After a Loss: The last thing a hyper athlete wants is to be comforted after a loss or a bad performance. Give him space and let him/her cool down. Losing is never easy, especially for overly-competitive athletes.
  2. Don’t Tell Them “It’s Okay:” To them, it’s not okay. Losing is never okay. Even worse, a bad performance is just out of the question. It will haunt them for hours, days, weeks, or even years, depending on the severity of the bad performance. Let the athlete come to you and open up about the game. Don’t force the conversation.
  3. Never Point Out the Obvious: Hyper athletes know what went wrong. They will overanalyze what went wrong. They do not need you restating the facts. This will do nothing but make them madder. As we have already said, give them space.
  4. Have the Tough Conversation (Just Not After a Loss): At some point, you will need to have the tough conversation with your son or daughter about being too hard on themselves. Encourage them to be competitive, but to not let losses or bad performances get them down. Even professional athletes lose games. Even professional athletes have bad performances. It is how you bounce back from those bad games that should define you as an athlete.

“I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed. “- Michael Jordan

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