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View Full Version : At what age do you want your go from "for fun" sports to "win/lose" sports?


jAZ
03-11-2008, 02:28 PM
I'm watching George Carlin's latest HBO show and he's talking about the "slef esteem movement" and how kids never hear the phrase "you lost!" anymore.

It got me thinking about my 15 month old boy. One of the things I've read about, and noticed in him... is that at this age... kids like to read the same books (and parts of books) over and over again, because they know what word is coming up next. And they like the feeling of getting the word right.

It's also why they will say "done!" as soon as their favorite pages is done (the one where they get to say "duck!" or whatever).

The same thought process seems to apply to sports. At a young age, you are having them play, not to learn the value of competition or winning and losing, but rather just to learn the sport, get exercise, and have fun. At that age, everyone gets to play.

At what age do you think kids should switch from KumByYa-sports to competitive-sports?

Silock
03-11-2008, 02:31 PM
If I ever have kids, it's going to be 6 or 7.

DaKCMan AP
03-11-2008, 02:32 PM
I never played any sport that was "for fun". There's always a winner and a loser and it's better to be the winner. I wont sign my future kid up for any sports leagues that don't keep score, don't have standings or playoffs and don't crown a champion. What's the point, otherwise?

jAZ
03-11-2008, 02:33 PM
I never played any sport that was "for fun". There's always a winner and a loser and it's better to be the winner. I wont sign my future kid up for any sports leagues that don't keep score, don't have standings or playoffs and don't crown a champion. What's the point, otherwise?
I'm not sure that this involves leagues that don't keep score necessarily.

jAZ
03-11-2008, 02:35 PM
I remember starting to play football in either 3rd or 4th grade. I'm sure it was full score keeping. Before that it was soccer and we had league champions and softball... which basically involved standing in the outfield and throwing my glove in the air. Not sure what the rest of the team was doing. I think both softball and soccer were 1st and 2nd grade.

bowener
03-11-2008, 02:37 PM
I played every sport in my highschool (that were available to me); football, basketball, track/golf (same time). I would loved to have played other ones besides those, but I always played them for fun. I was a really good athlete and probably could have been better but I knew I was never going to play in college or anything like that, so I just went out and had fun. Some of my teammates were ridiculous at times over the amount of anguish they would feel when we lost (or more accurately; when they werent the star). I would say let you kids do whatever they want. I was intelligent and gifted enough to get a 4.0 GPA and be an all state athlete, all the while taking my grades as something that is serious and sports as what they are, games. Just dont make them feel bad if they lose, or lose the game, or arent good at sports, that shit is ridiculous and I saw enough of that bullshit growing up; dads yelling at sons because they struck out or missed the 3 at the end of a game... who gives a shit! Its 6th grade baseball, smile, eat hotdogs, hang with friends, and try your hardest... thats the best advice I can think of.

Chiefnj2
03-11-2008, 02:37 PM
Even if leagues don't keep score the kids do.

2nd grade seems to be the grade it switches.

DaKCMan AP
03-11-2008, 02:39 PM
Just dont make them feel bad if they lose, or lose the game, or arent good at sports, that shit is rediculous and I saw enough of that bullshit growing up; dads yelling at sons because they struck out or missed the 3 at the end of a game... who gives a shit! Its 6th grade baseball, smile, eat hotdogs, hang with friends, and try your hardest... thats the best advice I can think of.

I agree with this completely. However, I still would put my child in a competitive league that, like life, has winners and losers.

bowener
03-11-2008, 02:41 PM
I agree with this completely. However, I still would put my child in a competitive league that, like life, has winners and losers.

I understand where you are coming from, but what confused me at the end is the life part. How do you win or lose at life? And if you infact do win or lose at life, shouldnt you be setting your child up for the best way to 'win' at life; ie. good grades, less sports, more time learning math, science, language skills that will allow them to domiante in the real world. Less than 1% of athletes go on to be pros, and you can tell early on who that could possibly be. If your child doesnt seem like a MJ by at 12, then it is probably accurate to assume they are just going to be like the rest of us, good but not great.

Sorry. I probably come off as a dick to you, but honestly I am not being hostile toward you. I am just big on good educations. I was hampered coming from a small, poor, rural missouri HS that couldnt afford to give us good classes that prepared us well for college. It took me about a year to get used to it all.

Chiefnj2
03-11-2008, 02:42 PM
I wont sign my future kid up for any sports leagues that don't keep score, don't have standings or playoffs and don't crown a champion. What's the point, otherwise?

Fun, social interaction, learning the basics of the game?

stlchiefs
03-11-2008, 02:44 PM
Even if leagues don't keep score the kids do.

2nd grade seems to be the grade it switches.

I agree. Even if the league does not, kids still always keep track on their own and ask their parents who won at the end of the game. You find this in kids even in Kindergarten. Parents and the league may not want to emphasize winning and losing, but the kids know what the point of playing is.

Silock
03-11-2008, 02:44 PM
There's a difference between encouraging winning and yelling at a child for not being good enough. IMO, the children that are taught that it's just as good to come in last as it is to come in first place are the kids that grow up to become assistant manager at Burger King and live at home until they're 45, because that's "okay."

DaKCMan AP
03-11-2008, 02:45 PM
I understand where you are coming from, but what confused me at the end is the life part. How do you win or lose at life? And if you infact do win or lose at life, shouldnt you be setting your child up for the best way to 'win' at life; ie. good grades, less sports, more time learning math, science, language skills that will allow them to domiante in the real world. Less than 1% of athletes go on to be pros, and you can tell early on who that could possibly be. If your child doesnt seem like a MJ by at 12, then it is probably accurate to assume they are just going to be like the rest of us, good but not great.

Sorry. I probably come off as a dick to you, but honestly I am not being hostile toward you. I am just big on good educations. I was hampered coming from a small, poor, rural missouri HS that couldnt afford to give us good classes that prepared us well for college. It took me about a year to get used to it all.

I think you're looking too much into the "winning" or "losing" at life. I meant it as in all types of situations there are winners and losers and I wouldn't want to, even from the start, give the false perception that everything in the world is kumbaya and everyone is a winner. Whether it be a scholarship, a science fair, interviewing for a job, playing the stock market, bidding on a contract there are winners and losers in all aspects of life and the sooner one realizes that they develop self-motivation and leave behind the sense of entitlement.

Believe me, education is one of the most important things in my life and one of which I place the ultimate value. When I say I want my child in a competitive league that in no way means I expect him or her to be an exceptional athlete. I wasn't, and I'm not, the most athletic guy in the world and I never expected to get anywhere based upon athletic ability. That doesn't mean I wasn't more competitive than anyone else out there or that I should have dropped sports to focus solely on music, literature, etc.

DaKCMan AP
03-11-2008, 02:47 PM
Fun, social interaction, learning the basics of the game?

You can learn all of that while still having a winning and losing team.

jspchief
03-11-2008, 02:47 PM
Considering the way recreational "for fun" leagues are all being trumped by "select"/AAU type leagues, I don't think kids have the slightest idea what "for fun" means anymore.

And I'm not sure a parent gets to make that call anyway. For years the kid's highlight will be the treat ticket at the end of the ballgame, then one day he'll decide winning is why he plays.

bowener
03-11-2008, 02:49 PM
I think you're looking too much into the "winning" or "losing" at life. I meant it as in all types of situations there are winners and losers and I wouldn't want to, even from the start, give the false perception that everything in the world is kumbaya and everyone is a winner. Whether it be a scholarship, a science fair, interviewing for a job, playing the stock market, bidding on a contract there are winners and losers in all aspects of life and the sooner one realizes that they develop self-motivation and leave behind the sense of entitlement.

Believe me, education is one of the most important things in my life and one of which I place the ultimate value.

Hmm, ok. I like that answer better. My parents were never pushy when it came to anything with me. I think they realized if they puched I wasnt going to budge, or I would do the opposite. My stepfather was a great athlete and smart as well, my mother too, and I think they just raised me to try my hardest, which for the most part I did. I think if I were to have children that is all I would try and teach them, but that is just how I am. Then the best traits can come from the hard work. If you are naturally a great athlete, then it will show with all the hardwork you put into, same for grades. The winning/losing aspect is lost on me I guess.

Silock
03-11-2008, 02:51 PM
Considering the way recreational "for fun" leagues are all being trumped by "select"/AAU type leagues, I don't think kids have the slightest idea what "for fun" means anymore.

And I'm not sure a parent gets to make that call anyway. For years the kid's highlight will be the treat ticket at the end of the ballgame, then one day he'll decide winning is why he plays.

Yeah, that's usually pretty early, unless he sucks.

Guru
03-11-2008, 03:23 PM
I think 7-8 is a good place to start. As a parent, I can't stand the idea of tryouts for anything younger than that. If the focus is on winning from the get go, the coaches tend to only play the best players rather than getting all the kids in to learn all aspects of the game.

ChiefaRoo
03-11-2008, 05:27 PM
Fook, "play for fun" Win or don't come home.

jidar
03-11-2008, 05:38 PM
My kids never did any of the 'for fun' stuff. They've been playing to win since 6-7 roughly.

We've got a t-ball league that doesn't keep score and the kids can't get out, but if you ask me that's crap. Why even play? Well I realize they are doing it so the kids can have fun but why bother with all the trouble of setting an organized league for that? Just takes the kids to the park and play.

bogey
03-11-2008, 05:54 PM
Kids are going to have plenty of adult life to win or lose. Play sports for the fun of it. It's not whether you win or lose it's how you play the game. Life is long, let them enjoy their youth.

Demonpenz
03-11-2008, 05:57 PM
probably depends on the kid.

Mr. Plow
03-11-2008, 05:59 PM
I'm all for winning and losing. I have no issue with my oldest - 9 - being taught that lesson. After all, winning is a goal to strive for. There are many many many benefits to organized sports.

With that said.....

This past year, my then 8 year old, wanted to play tackle football. It was the first year it was offered for him. He's more of a basketball player, but he was pretty good at the OL in flag football. He always played center. He was the only kid in the entire league - and I kid you not - that could hike the ball effectively to the QB who was in a "semi shotgun" formation.

Over the summer, we signed him up for as many of the football camps as we could, just so that he could learn the techniques, etc. He seemed to do ok. He was nervous to get hit, but most of them were. That wore off.

His coach, let's call him Assmunch, practiced with the kids 2 days a week. He had a ton of "assistants". Most of them were good with the kids, Assmunch was not. We had a TOTAL of 6 practices prior to our first game. The day before the 4th practice, my wife and I went in for the birth of our daughter. He missed the next day to spend with his new baby sister. The next practice, my dad took him because we were in the hospital. Other than this one practice, I personally did not miss one.

Some things to keep in mind. As a team:
- They spent 30 minutes of the first practice learning how to get into a proper stance. Maybe this should be enough. But, a lot of the kids struggled with it.
- They spent 1 hour learning how to tackle. Not real tackling though, the slow motion kind because "we don't want to get anyone hurt". The kids never even took someone down to the ground.
- The remainder of the time was spent on offense and "trick" plays.

When I come home from the hospital, Assmunch had been by my house 4 times in 2 days, and left 5 messages for me to call him. I called him back, and the short version of the conversation was:

Assmunch: Your kid isn't very good. He's really timid. Doesn't know how to get into a stance. Shy's away from tackling. Runs from being blocked.

Me: Really? He hasn't been doing that at any other practice.

Assmunch: I've been keeping an eye on him, I've noticed him doing this at each practice. You should come and watch him.

Me: I've been at every practice except the one and have never seen anything like this from him.

Assmunch: He even cried at the last practice.

Me: Well, I know he was worried about his sister. You do know she was in the NICU at Wesley right?

Assmunch: Oh ya. I knew that. But I don't think that was it.

Assmunch: Here's the deal, other than the 4 downs per half I have to play him, he really isn't going to play much.





I'm not a blind parent. I know he's a bit timid when it comes to football. Football isn't his sport NOW, it could be later on it life. He's one of the best basketball players in his class. But the entire point of him playing was to learn how to play the game. Not be put down at 8 years old. I pulled him from the team. Which, I wasn't the only parent to do so. He played one game. Had one tackle. A couple good blocks.

Winning is important. But it isn't everything, especially at his age. He should have been taught some fundamentals of the game before telling him he wasn't good enough.

I just realized this was a book. Sorry.

bogey
03-11-2008, 06:00 PM
probably depends on the kid.

Good point. Definitely depends on the kid. The objective of a parent I think, is to be able to determine which kind of kid you have. If they are competitive, cool, if they're just out there just for fun, that's cool too.