As parents, watching our kids try and fail can be rough. Standing on the sidelines and cheering for a team that loses every. Single. Game. Can get old quickly. And if we think watching a team lose is hard, we can imagine what it’s like for our kids who are on the losing team. But, there is so much more to losing! When it comes to our kids, it’s important to remember that winning isn’t everything and that losing can actually teach us quite a lot. Here are four factors of youth sports that are more important than winning.
Being able to keep working, even when there are obstacles, is an important lesson for adult life. Youth sports are the perfect place for kids to learn how to persevere in a safe place and space. If your child “fails” at a sport, encourage them to keep trying. Normalize failure as a tool to gain and improve skills.
Beyond sports and school, we all have to work with others as adults. Not everyone works the same way or the same speed and learning how to navigate those types of scenarios is important. Playing a youth sport gives kids exposure to learn this all-important skill.
Improving a skill takes work. Developing strong self-discipline will help your child as they continue to play sports, through school, and in adult life as well. Learning to be self-driven to accomplish tasks, especially challenging ones, will serve them well throughout life.
Let’s face it, losing a soccer game at 8 years old is not the last time your child is going to lose. Learning to lose with grace, rather than indignation, is an important life skill. Learning to accept that that losing comes naturally whenever you are participating in anything in life is important.
Our Attitude Speaks Volumes
As parents, it’s not only important that we teach our kids that winning isn’t the most important part of sports, we have to model it as well.
- Being encouraging to your own child’s team as well as the opposing team
- Normalize losing and focus on where our athletes need support
- Emphasize hard work and willingness to try
- When mistakes are made, encourage them to try again rather than shy away. Practice makes perfect.
- Encourage well-rounded athletes; counter muscular movement, running, strength training, stretching, etc.