By Coach Recker
The thrill of victory! The agony of defeat! Our student-athletes at Laurence will experience these two contrasting feelings many times throughout the year. We all like winning. Winning feels good. But how important is it really to kids?
Well, it's not as important as the one thing kids like the most - fun! According to a study done at George Washington University in 2014, 9 out of 10 kids said fun is the main reason they play sports. When asked to define fun, they suggested 81 different reasons. Winning ranked #48 on that list. Research also suggests that kids tend to forget about the final result of a game about ten minutes after it concludes. Adults will obsess for much longer. These findings suggest that kids quickly move on...if we let them.
How can we reframe the conversation with kids? Whenever an opportunity comes along to discuss the results of a game, how about mentioning some of the memorable moments that occurred in the game: the incredible displays of teamwork, the awesome effort, the sportsmanship, and the positivity through adversity. And then, maybe at the end, the final score. Even if that final score equals a loss, kids should realize the value in the experience.
The moment of winning and losing literally takes a second. The clock goes to zero, the final point is scored, and immediately it's over. The 40 minutes that preceded that one second were full of growth, learning, resilience, teamwork, highs, lows, success, and failure. What about all the hours of practice, study, observation, and fully immersing oneself in the sport? There is so much value if we look at the big picture. We need to help our student-athletes realize this and discover the amazing, life-altering benefits that sports can bring. Let's help them start to love the process. It's okay to win. It's okay to like winning. But remember, winning isn't everything.