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Coping with team deselection

Being deselected from a team can be a challenging and an emotional experience. It's a time that can bring about self-doubt and uncertainty, but it's also an opportunity for growth and resilience. Here's some guidance on navigating this period effectively.

Understanding deselection

Deselection is a natural part of competitive sports. It's important to remember that it's not necessarily a reflection of your worth or potential as a player. Various factors come into play in these decisions, and they can often be a chance to refocus and re-energise your approach to the game.

  • Emotional Impact

    • Allow Yourself to Feel: It's okay to feel upset or disappointed. Accepting your emotions is a healthy part of the process.
    • Stay Away from Blame: Avoid blaming yourself, others, or the selection process. It doesn't change the outcome and can lead to unnecessary negativity.
  • Moving Forward

    • Seek Feedback: Approach your coaches for constructive feedback. Understanding their perspective can provide clarity and areas for improvement.
    • Set New Goals: Use this time to set new personal goals. Focus on aspects of your game that you can control and improve.
    • Stay Connected: Keep in touch with your teammates and support each other. You're still part of a community.
    • Keep Active: Stay physically active, whether it's through training, gym sessions, or playing another sport. It helps to maintain your physical condition and mental health.
    • Consider Other Opportunities: Sometimes, a deselection can lead to different opportunities. Be open to exploring other teams or roles within the sport.
  • Support Systems

    • Talk About It: Speak with family, friends, or a mental health professional. Sharing your experience can be cathartic and provide new perspectives.
    • Look Beyond the Sport: Engage in activities outside of rugby. This can help to redefine your identity beyond being a rugby player and open up new sources of fulfilment.
  • Reflect and Grow

    • Reflect on Your Journey: Take this time to reflect on how far you've come and the skills you've gained.
    • Mental Skills Training: Engage in mental skills training to build resilience, focus, and a positive mindset.
  • Staying Positive

    • Practice Self-Compassion: Treat yourself with the same kindness and understanding you would offer a friend in your situation.
    • Maintain Routine: Stick to a regular routine to provide structure and a sense of normalcy.


Seeking help

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If coping with deselection feels overwhelming, don't hesitate to seek professional help. It's a sign of strength to recognise when you need support and to take steps to get it.

Deselection isn't the end of the road; it's a detour. It's an opportunity to build character, develop new strategies and come back stronger. Remember, every player's journey is unique, and this chapter is just one part of your larger rugby story.

You can find a list of support services here.