November 16, 2008

How To Lose

The soccer season has but one more game left in it.

One more game and I regain some time that I had to allocate to coaching. For those who care that means that I won't have to devote time during the week running practices or thinking about who should play what position. And of course it also means that one day each weekend will not be committed to coaching the game.

I'll miss some of this. I'll miss watching the boys develop new friendships and the skills that they have picked up because of their involvement.

If you have ever wondered how to make the Shmata Queen roll her eyes spend a few minutes trying to talk to her about sports. If you really want to make her crazy tell her that you can't do something because you must be home to see the game. I can't say that I don't see her point. When you're time is really limited it is really hard to figure out how to best allocate your attention.

But when it comes to children's sports I have made the crazy queen admit on more than one occasion that I am right. Now if you don't think that this is an accomplishment you have never sparred with her majesty. Fortunately I have always been skilled at making her think that she is the boss, but that is a topic for a different day.

Youth sports provide your children with a number of benefits. It takes them outdoors and away from the television, computer, XBox, whatever. It helps to teach them how to be a part of a team. Now I have to admit that I share the Shmata Queen's distaste for group projects. More often than not the workload is not shared evenly.

But I also believe that participating in team sports helps to counter some of that. It helps to teach you how to work as a part of team and how to understand that everyone can have a valuable role to play.

And from an entirely different perspective it provides a great place to teach children how to lose. Winning is easy. Anyone can win, but losing is not so easy. Learning how to lose is a good way to learn how to deal with adversity. It is a way to help develop coping skills and that is a critical part of raising a healthy child.

As a coach and a parent I have been given the pleasure of working with children who have never lost. It hasn't been because they are the Babe Ruth or Tiger Woods of their sport. It is because their parents have refused to let them fail. It is a real mistake. Because there comes a point in time in which mom/dad can't protect them from life and then what happens.

Let me clarify something about my thoughts about losing. There is a balance. I don't want the child's ego to be crushed either. Balance, now that really is the hardest part of life, but that is a separate post altogether.

I suppose that I should take a look at a previous post I wrote called Teaching Children To Lose Gracefully and see if my feelings have changed at all.

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