Kids Would Rather Lose and Get to Play the Whole Game [Podcast]

Playing Time in Youth Sports

Ultimate Sports Parent Podcast

Here’s an interesting study result: If young athletes have to choose between losing and getting to play the whole game, they choose playing time. That’s a tidbit from Steven Frierman, a professor at Hofstra University and a former youth sports coach.

Yes, that’s right. Winning isn’t everything to young sports kids, he says. Often, having fun, being with friends, and getting a lot of playing time are more important, he says.

As parents, if you’re looking to motivate your young athletes, it’s critical to understand why they play and what they enjoy, says Frierman.

Sometimes-and unfortunately-they’re playing sports because their parents want to live through them and are insisting they play. That’s not a great reason for kids to participate.

Do you understand why your kids are playing?

Coaches, too, need to understand why kids are participating in youth sports and what their goals are…

Sometimes, coaches will ask parents and kids to fill out a survey at the beginning of the season that identifies why the kids are playing and what they want to get out of it. That’s a good idea. It helps ensure that parents, kids and coaches are all on the same page.

While you’re trying to understand what motivates your young athletes, it’s important to try to underplay the value of winning.

Both parents and coaches should focus on setting goals to support their athletes’ mbotivation. These can be goals athletes enjoy reaching for-stealing five bases, for example. Set these goals based on the position the child is playing, Frierman suggests.

This will help kids focus better and play in the here-and-now. And guess what? If they’re focusing on the present-and not on the win-they’re more likely to perform well and win!

If coaches want to reward kids, they should consider giving them positions they want and other perks associated with playing their sport, he says.

Listen to the podcast here:

*Subscribe to The Sports Psychology Podcast on iTunes
*Subscribe to The Sports Psychology Podcast on Spotify

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