“WIN!! You have to WIN!!” How many times do we shout this from the stands in a little league game?
The coach forcefully grabs the player by the face mask, an inch away from the player’s face. Coach’s screams are audible to the fans in the bleachers as his beet-red face looks as if it’s about to explode. The player, defenselessly taking the punishment cannot really hear the coach as his ears are ringing from the sheer volume of the yells. No, this is not pro or even college ball, it’s pee-wee football. If your child plays sports, you’ve undoubtedly witnessed coaches or parents who go to any length to ensure their child gets the win. Even if the tactics aren’t exactly child-friendly or nurturing, the adults are so invested in getting the win, they have little regard for how their child gets it.
What Are They Playing For?
It may seem obvious that a child should play a sport because they like it. However, there are times when parents have their kids play a sport because “I played soccer, so of course my kid’s going to play”, or “I never had a chance to be quarterback. I want my child to at least have that opportunity.” Is it more about our satisfaction or because our child truly has an interest in that endeavor? Sure the sport may build their confidence and camaraderie, but maybe it’s not their dream, but yours.
When a child does play a sport, it’s the experience of playing that is most crucial to their development, not the win. We’ve heard time and again on the GDP that failure is one of the best gifts we can give our kids. When they always win, they don’t have a chance to fully grow, limiting their chance for success in the future. On the other hand, teaching a child to develop in all facets of the sport, including sportsmanship and winning and losing gracefully sets the tone for a healthy child and a brighter future for them.
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