Everyone knows that winning is more fun than losing. But strangely enough, winning can create its own problems. One is overconfidence and being too cocky. Unless carefully handled, winning teams can become arrogant and disrespectful to teams they defeat.
There’s also a flip side to winning. Specifically, during a winning streak, most athletes not only experience the pleasure of victory but also the increased pressure not to lose. An additional danger is that if a team wins too regularly and too easily, the athletes may get bored and take their success for granted. In such cases, a focus on effort and continued improvement can provide an additional and meaningful goal to pursue.
What are some guidelines for parents’ and coaches’ post-game behavior after a win?
- Compliment the sport officials for doing a good job, and be sure to thank them for their contributions.
- STOP focusing on whether your child/team won or lost.
- LOOK for signs that indicate how the kids are feeling (facial expressions, tears, body language).
- LISTEN to what the youngsters say before you provide input. Begin with a supportive comment, and then ask open-ended questions:
“What part of the game did you enjoy the most/least?”
“What was the best/worst thing about your individual performance?”
“Were you satisfied with your effort?” If not, “What do you intend to do about effort in the future?”
“What was the most important thing you learned from the game?”
What are some tips for helping young athletes deal with winning?