The American Academy of Pediatrics published a clinical report on the impact of organized sports on children, preadolescents, and adolescents. The study found that what makes sports enjoyable for kids is not the winning, but rather, “trying hard, making progress, being a good sport, and experiencing positive coaching.” The report is here, and a summary in the New York Times is here.
It might be tempting for some (competitive) readers to dismiss the findings as indicative of a failure to prepare our kids for the harsh realities of the world. But one of those realities is that you can’t always win—at sports, at work, in college admissions, etc. Not even the most successful adults have life-long wining streaks, especially if they’ve taken on real challenges and frequently put themselves in failure’s path. Wouldn’t our kids be more prepared, not less, if they could find joy in working hard, getting better, treating people well, and welcoming help from people who genuinely want them to succeed?
Sounds like the formula to me.