Winning in Youth Sports

Let’s be honest: Winning is fun. There’s much to be said for the joys of competition, and coaches, players and parents love to see their team win. But as they say, “Winning isn’t everything.”

This was my 30th year as a coach’s wife, and as I sat in the stands watching players play hard, fail and succeed, it dawned on me that sometimes focusing on the ‘win’ can come with a price. Sometimes coaches and parents pursue a win no matter the cost.

Players can get hurt when going for a win—and not just physically. It’s important for coaches to not view young athletes as a means to an end. They’re individuals who should be learning, growing and developing.

Coaches and parents who focus only on the win are missing out on a great opportunity to make a difference in young lives.

Purpose can get neglected when winning trumps character and integrity. The purpose of youth sports is not just to develop good athletes; it is to develop tomorrow’s leaders. Youth sports offer the training ground for life’s playing fields.

Perspective can be clouded when the scoreboard becomes the only measurement of a team or an individual. Success should be measured by progress, achievements, met goals and character gained.


The bottom line? Teach players to win and lose with dignity, give their best, respect everyone involved in the game (including opponents), work hard and be a team player. Most games can be a win no matter what happens.



Janis Meredith is a family life coach who wants to help all parents raise champions. You can find out more at

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