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Old 08-17-2015, 01:29 PM
 
Location: Fairfield of the Ohio
682 posts, read 475,185 times
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Lame message to send to 6 and 8 year olds. At those ages, your best IS good enough.
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Old 08-17-2015, 02:29 PM
 
Location: IL
2,992 posts, read 4,258,134 times
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I was thinking a little more about this and am starting to lean towards participation medals at young ages, when I previously had no opinion. I remember driving to one of my boys' soccer games and I was talking to them and one interrupted me and said, "Yeah, we know, it doesn't matter if we win today, you just want us to try our best and be creative (A word I probably used before every game)." They were 7. The point I was making was I wanted them to learn their skills and try to get better individually and it didn't matter if the team won. Obviously, they wanted to win, but my take-away was if you play your best and try to get better, that is what matters to me. I see parents of little kids WAY too focused on winning. I want my kids to win, too, but a better perspective is a focus on improving. At this age, kids should be working to get better on their own skills, which can be to the detriment of winning the game.

Learning to play as a team is surely a benefit of children's sports, but so is improving individual skills. So, would I rather have my kid pass the ball to the kid that has advanced athletically earlier, or would I rather have my kid take more risks and improve his individual skills? I, personally, choose the later, which could lead to more mistakes and fewer wins during the season...and likely means they don't win the trophy for first place. I guess I am saying little kids should focus on getting better instead of winning. Participation medals can support this approach until maybe age 9, which you then move to medals only for winning.

I don't think the medals ever really motivated my kids, but I do see kids where it seems to matter. If it keeps them engaged in athletics, that is good.
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Old 08-17-2015, 03:10 PM
 
Location: The Carolinas
1,987 posts, read 1,904,201 times
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At very young ages, participation ribbons/trophies, etc. are OK. As long as they're smaller than the actual trophies.

At some age past 5 or 6, you have to start taking the line: life isn't completely fair, you don't always get what everyone gets, "sprinkles are for winners".

At an even greater age: teens and upwards, you have to start taking the line that "the two most destructive words in the English language are: 'good job'".

Life's hard, you have to ease them into it or it will kick them and stomp them into the ground if they're not expecting it.
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Old 08-17-2015, 03:16 PM
 
Location: San Diego
32,802 posts, read 30,052,880 times
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I had a battle with my two assistant coaches over this last year. They wanted trophies with some stupid (in most cases false) attribute about each kid. I said let's use that money for a year end party. Back and forth we went. We ended up with baseballs that were monogrammed with each player's picture. The kids said the party was AWESOME, pool and all.
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Old 08-17-2015, 03:20 PM
 
11,614 posts, read 19,720,716 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sspistol View Post
Lame message to send to 6 and 8 year olds. At those ages, your best IS good enough.
Sometimes it is. Sometimes it isn't. Doing all you can do is something that should be encouraged but it is important for kids to realize that sometimes other people are just better.
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Old 08-17-2015, 03:35 PM
 
11,614 posts, read 19,720,716 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by almost3am View Post
I was thinking a little more about this and am starting to lean towards participation medals at young ages, when I previously had no opinion. I remember driving to one of my boys' soccer games and I was talking to them and one interrupted me and said, "Yeah, we know, it doesn't matter if we win today, you just want us to try our best and be creative (A word I probably used before every game)." They were 7. The point I was making was I wanted them to learn their skills and try to get better individually and it didn't matter if the team won. Obviously, they wanted to win, but my take-away was if you play your best and try to get better, that is what matters to me. I see parents of little kids WAY too focused on winning. I want my kids to win, too, but a better perspective is a focus on improving. At this age, kids should be working to get better on their own skills, which can be to the detriment of winning the game.
I am not a proponent of win at all costs mentality. However, I don't understand why anyone wouldn't want to win every single time they took the field.

Quote:
Originally Posted by almost3am View Post
Learning to play as a team is surely a benefit of children's sports, but so is improving individual skills. So, would I rather have my kid pass the ball to the kid that has advanced athletically earlier, or would I rather have my kid take more risks and improve his individual skills? I, personally, choose the later, which could lead to more mistakes and fewer wins during the season...and likely means they don't win the trophy for first place. I guess I am saying little kids should focus on getting better instead of winning. Participation medals can support this approach until maybe age 9, which you then move to medals only for winning.

I don't think the medals ever really motivated my kids, but I do see kids where it seems to matter. If it keeps them engaged in athletics, that is good.
Teamwork is probably the single most important thing kids can take away from team sports. I do think that there is a place for improving individual skills, especially for younger kids. However, kids should be taught to play together as a team and sometimes that means sacrificing your individual opportunity so that the entire team can win.

Of course there are coaches who take this to the extreme and I don't support that either. There is no need to have your very best players in the game, scoring goals when you have a big lead. There needs to be a balance in kids sports. Winning is important but it isn't the only thing. Improvements in individual skills are important but teamwork is more important.
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Old 08-17-2015, 03:36 PM
 
875 posts, read 644,240 times
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I think they are fine for the youngest kids, up to age 7 or so. Until that point, most kids don't really understand the game well enough to be truly competitive anyway. Participation IS the goal, learning the skills of the game, learning to show good sportsmanship. T-ball is the sport that really comes to mind, with this. It's for 5 and 6 year olds, in this community. They got medals and my daughter was SO proud of it. She was proud to be part of a team, proud to have stuck with it, and improved her game. So, I don't see anything wrong with a participation medal, ribbon, trophy, whatever.

By about 2nd grade, there's a transition to having a fuller understanding of competition, and the relationship between hard work and results. That's a good time for participation trophies to phase out, IMO.
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Old 08-17-2015, 04:08 PM
 
13,010 posts, read 12,451,656 times
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Here's my question - does any kid actually take those participation trophies seriously? The year I did soccer, my team lost every game. I got some crappy little trophy, and I didn't think it was "hey, you're a winner too!" - even as a kid, I realized it was just a sort of commemorative memento, like the team photo and the end-of-season "banquet" where winning teams were acknowledged on stage. I've always seen those things as being more about building community and a sense of belonging than telling a kid "good job for losing consistently." Same with the ribbons for field day at my school - once you got beyond 1st, 2nd and 3rd, no one really cared.

I can't really understand why people get all huffy about it and freak out. Your kids aren't stupid. They know it's just an acknowledgement that they participated in something, and frankly there's nothing wrong with that. Cripes, you get party favors for showing up at someone's wedding.

It seems kind of mean-spirited to take away trophies from a kid and tell them they didn't "earn" it - were these children under the delusion that they were the champions of the league? I doubt it. Participation trophies say "hey, you were a part of this. Here's something to remember it by." I'd look at my stupid little soccer trophy and laugh about the ball bouncing off of my head more than once and the fun times I had with my teammates. I wasn't under the delusion that I had any significant soccer skills just because I got a little plastic memento.

Parents who get upset about participation trophies would probably be best-served directing their energies into other concerns. Like maybe how their kid is doing in school rather than on the sports field or court.
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Old 08-17-2015, 04:10 PM
 
Location: IL
2,992 posts, read 4,258,134 times
Reputation: 3071
Quote:
Originally Posted by Momma_bear View Post
I am not a proponent of win at all costs mentality. However, I don't understand why anyone wouldn't want to win every single time they took the field.



Teamwork is probably the single most important thing kids can take away from team sports. I do think that there is a place for improving individual skills, especially for younger kids. However, kids should be taught to play together as a team and sometimes that means sacrificing your individual opportunity so that the entire team can win.

Of course there are coaches who take this to the extreme and I don't support that either. There is no need to have your very best players in the game, scoring goals when you have a big lead. There needs to be a balance in kids sports. Winning is important but it isn't the only thing. Improvements in individual skills are important but teamwork is more important.
They did want to win, and I wanted them to win, and they better try hard...but I was letting them know that it wasn't the most important thing at age 7. They should try to be their best at the sport at hand, and if they develop individually at a young age they have a greater opportunity to be a better player later. I guess I am playing the long term game instead of the short term game. That's my opinion, at least.

Yes, teamwork is one of the most important aspects to winning teams, but great teams have great players with teamwork. My view is that great players are developed individually, and then as a team. Develop kids with great skills at a young age and then develop teamwork. Both aspects can be learned, but I chose (maybe selfishly) to have my kids taught individual skills first. My view is that if my kids develop the skills early, and continue to work on those individual skills, they will be advanced ball handlers...then when they are advanced individually to begin bringing in more team aspects of the game (e.g. when to pass versus beat the defender with individual skill). Unfortunately, this approach leads to more losses now, but hopefully more wins later.

Just my opinion, but I understand alternative theories on child development.
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Old 08-17-2015, 04:13 PM
 
Location: IL
2,992 posts, read 4,258,134 times
Reputation: 3071
Quote:
Originally Posted by JrzDefector View Post
Here's my question - does any kid actually take those participation trophies seriously? The year I did soccer, my team lost every game. I got some crappy little trophy, and I didn't think it was "hey, you're a winner too!" - even as a kid, I realized it was just a sort of commemorative memento, like the team photo and the end-of-season "banquet" where winning teams were acknowledged on stage. I've always seen those things as being more about building community and a sense of belonging than telling a kid "good job for losing consistently." Same with the ribbons for field day at my school - once you got beyond 1st, 2nd and 3rd, no one really cared.

I can't really understand why people get all huffy about it and freak out. Your kids aren't stupid. They know it's just an acknowledgement that they participated in something, and frankly there's nothing wrong with that. Cripes, you get party favors for showing up at someone's wedding.

It seems kind of mean-spirited to take away trophies from a kid and tell them they didn't "earn" it - were these children under the delusion that they were the champions of the league? I doubt it. Participation trophies say "hey, you were a part of this. Here's something to remember it by." I'd look at my stupid little soccer trophy and laugh about the ball bouncing off of my head more than once and the fun times I had with my teammates. I wasn't under the delusion that I had any significant soccer skills just because I got a little plastic memento.

Parents who get upset about participation trophies would probably be best-served directing their energies into other concerns. Like maybe how their kid is doing in school rather than on the sports field or court.
This is all probably true. I do see that sometimes the participation medals are more for parents than the kids, haha.

And memories of sports banquets...horrible. I hope those things die out soon so i don't need to attend them for my kids. I'd rather have a BBQ in someone's backyard.
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