It’s Time We Changed The Question
By Jon Coles
It’s Time We Changed The Question. Lots of people agree: youth sports are spiraling out of control, and we need to make changes.
Here’s something easy we can all do to change the trend.
Change the question.
Research shows that parents and kids agree: winning is not one of the top reasons why kids play sports.
So why do we talk about it so much? Why, when we see 4-10-year-olds in their Saturday uniform, do we ask, “Did you win?” Is it really important to know if a kid who still believes in Santa Claus won? Data shows that young sports participants are quitting at an alarming rate because it’s simply too competitive, yet it’s common for waiters, waitresses, strangers, friends, and family members to ask the question…did you win?
Let’s change the question. Instead of asking, “Did you win” let’s ask what’s important: “What do you learn” or “Did you have fun?”
Let’s remember why kids play sports: to be with friends, to be part of a team, and to have fun! Let’s also remember that it’s the pursuit of winning that teaches life skills. The determination, teamwork, preparation, discipline, dedication, etc. that kids learn throughout the youth sports experience are the skills we want to equip them with for the real world. Kids who win trophies and rings as 4-10-year-olds aren’t a predictor of success.
Let’s keep things in perspective and ask kids what really matters:
What did you learn? Did you have fun?
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He is now a practicing sports counselor and professor of sport management at Grand Valley State University.
Dr. Coles can be reached at email@example.com