NJ Youth Sports: How Important Should Winning Be?
At what age and at what level should winning be the priority when it comes to youth sports?
That question poses a dilemma as in one corner you have those who believe everyone should get a trophy while in the other is the group that believes it’s never too early to emphasize the difference between winning and losing.
When your children first started playing soccer, basketball, and tee-ball at age 5 or 6 you celebrated the smallest signs of achievement.
Scoring that first goal, making that first basket, or getting that first hit was a special moment that hopefully you caught on your phone.
As parents we insisted that the idea was for them to learn basic fundamentals, how to get along with others, and most importantly have fun. Now, it seems that goes out the window pretty quickly especially for parents who believe their son or daughter has more talent than their teammates.
At that point just playing the game is not good enough and the coach who gives everyone equal time comes under fire from parents on his own team. They want to win and if that means little “Mike or Mary” plays the entire game because they are the best players while others only get a few minutes then so be it.
Before long the better players gravitate to select, travel and AAU teams and the goals and desires become larger. Practicing and playing almost 12 months a year, seeking better coaching and training, traveling, fundraising and winning, winning and winning. Those videos you used to watch which brought smiles and laughter are now tools to show your kids what they’re doing wrong.
So what is right and what is wrong when it comes to this? I guess it’s up to each parent to decide what they want their child to get out of youth sports. Of course the child should have some say in the matter because not everyone has what it takes to be a champion…some are just fine with a participation trophy.