Even just typing the word ‘rejection’ brings up feelings from the past. We’ve all been there in sport or life. It isn’t nice but there can be things to do to learn from it rather than being defined by it.

There are two things I’d like to share that can be helpful in moving past rejection. For both I will use the example of not being selected for a team or squad but they can be applied to other walks of life too.

Expressive Writing

Writing about the experience for twenty minutes, without worrying about grammar or spelling, has been shown to help individuals deal with what has happened. You can start where you want. It could be what feelings it has generated or why you wanted that spot in the team so much. The key is to let whatever comes to mind fall on to the page by writing. There’s just one rule- keep writing until the time is up!

Doing this between 3-5 times gives you the opportunity to express what the rejection is like soon after but also after some reflection. As well as helping process what is occuring they can make fascinating insights to view later on. When you enjoy some success in the future, viewing these notes will help understand how the ups and downs are an essential part of cricket.

Links to the studies that show a wide range of benefits, including improved sporting performance, can be seen here https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/advances-in-psychiatric-treatment/article/emotional-and-physical-health-benefits-of-expressive-writing/ED2976A61F5DE56B46F07A1CE9EA9F9F

Third Person Reflection

This is another writing task but is more structured, which may appeal more to some of you.

In this exercise you write a reflection on what has happened but from a third person perspective. I will include an example below to help.

The beauty of this approach is that it engages you in objective thinking. By looking at your own experiences from another angle it helps to make sense of how you are feeling and what you want to do next.

Try the prompts from this brief example to get started.

* What is the rejection/setback?

Mark has not been selected by the county pre season squad

* How has this made him feel?

He feels confused as he got the impression he would be selected. He also feels like this is the last chance he had to play at this level and cannot see how he will be picked again.

* How can he address those feelings to move forward?

To deal with the confusion he could ask for clarity from the coach about the criteria for selection. He should also ask what is expected of him to get back in the squad. 

* What positives can be taken from this?

He realises how much this means to him and that he wants to try again and give his best.