The Overemphasis on Winning, News (Lucknow Minor Hockey)

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The Overemphasis on Winning
Submitted By Steve Howard on Wednesday, October 18, 2017
The Single Biggest Contributor to the Massive Drop Out Rate in Youth Sports
June 5, 2017|Duff Gibson 

Last winter, there were parents on our youngest son’s hockey team who thought of me as the noncompetitive guy.  They said things like, “I hope we win tonight! Oops, sorry Duff.” As a former World and Olympic Champion, it was an odd thing to hear. I’ve been a Canadian Champion in two different sports and held a provincial title in a third - I'm actually the opposite of the noncompetitive guy. In fact, to me it has always been about the challenge of competition, and this mindset has served me well both in and outside my athletic career.


What the parents were referring to, was my expressed belief that we make winning too important in youth sport. To be clear, I don’t believe kids should get a trophy for showing up. This practice has been shown to backfire in terms of boosting self-esteem and confidence, which presumably is why it exists in the first place. More to the point, if we present sport to kids properly, they don’t need to be bribed. If we help young people maintain perspective with regard to winning and losing, it’s much more likely they’ll develop a love for sport itself. The repercussions are significant if we get it wrong and at the moment we’re getting it wrong much more often than we’re getting it right.

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