It’s a sentiment we hear of often: ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’, and similarly uplifting mantras. Setbacks make an appearance early in life, but it’s hard to understand their value when you’re 10 years old and your soccer team has lost it’s 7th game in a row. As a parent, how do you guide your child through sporting defeats, injuries, low grades, mental challenges and loss?
Focusing on the lessons learned is one place to start, afterall, setbacks are often begrudgingly met after great amounts of effort, practice and discipline. Marvin Fidel, founder of MF Performance & Training, P.E. teacher at Redfield College and NSW Basketball Player in the Waratah League shared with The Parent-Teacher Project his own run-in with sporting setbacks as a teenager.
“I had planned to go on a tour to play (college basketball) in the US in front of a couple of big tournaments, where a lot of college coaches and scouts were there to see the talent pool. And unfortunately, two weeks before, I injured my knee, my MCL. So that was a big setback, because a lot had gone into it for not only that year, but the two years before that as well.”
As a young, aspiring athlete, an injury that stopped him from playing his best was a difficult reality to face, “At that age I was like ‘oh this is the end of the world. This is something I had been working for, for a long time’, and it was hard to stay positive.”
What was a major disappointment for Marvin later became a significant lesson. Instead of walking off the basketball court, closing the doors on his goal, he adapted, and made use of skills he had learned along the way, professionally and mentally.
Now playing for NSW’s Waratah Basketball league, running his own training business for athletes, and teaching Physical Education at the same College where he was once a student, Marvin chose to find value in the setback, and ever since he has continued to try for the slam dunks.
“Just having that attitude and mindset that there is a next time, means that you’re picking yourself up and ready to go again, and ready to continue to play to win. And it happens everyday in life really.”
Marvin left his conversation with The Parent-Teacher Project like a true sportsman: “Ultimately we have control of our efforts and how we choose to look at certain situations. So no matter the circumstances, at least we can hang our hat on the fact that we gave it our best shot.”
This article was inspired by episode #4 of The Parent-Teacher Project entitled The Value of Setbacks: Avoiding the Victim Mentality with Marvin Fidel and Nathan Frazer.
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