Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but everybody is not always a winner. We live in a society where everyone is scared to tell a kid that they lost and in a society where everybody gets a trophy or a ribbon, proclaiming they won. This just isn’t real life. How does this prepare a young player for the real world once sports are done?
Now, if you know me, you know that I am 100% always about making girls feel great about themselves and helping them become the best people they can be, not just the best players they can be. But here is what I know: There is always a winner, and there is always a loser. If there is not a winner or a loser, then there really isn’t a competition happening. If we are teaching kids that everyone is a winner, then we aren’t teaching them real life; we aren’t preparing them for what’s ahead. Knowing that there is a winner and a loser is what drives competitiveness. That competitiveness is going to be needed and used long after softball is over.
The more competitive players are going to be the players who show up to the ballpark every day with a desire to WIN. That idea of winning is going to be what motivates them to practice more, so that they can help out the team more when it is game time in order to WIN. The idea of winning is always going to be what motivates them to stay focused during the game for the entire 7 innings, because they know that if they lose focus, there could be a bad inning, which could result in losing. A will to win will also motivates them to be a leader and help their teammates become the best players they can be, thus ensuring more wins than losses.
Doesn’t this sound like the recipe for success in life? — Hard work. Focus. Leadership. Teamwork.
Hmm…those things sound familiar. Oh right! They’re the major keys to having success in life and success in a career. But, if everyone wins, then players will not feel that sense of urgency to have a work ethic and drive unlike any other. There has to be something at stake. And every time you enter a game, winning is at stake. Learn to win. Learn to lose. Hate losing more than you like winning.
Take an in-game example. Other than just on the scoreboard, throughout the game there is a winner and a loser with every at bat that happens. A pitcher either wins the battle or a hitter wins the battle. Think of that tense situation with the bases loaded, 2 outs, tie ball game. I want the pitcher in the circle or hitter up to bat on my team who KNOWS there is a winner and a loser. She doesn’t get scared of it. She just accepts it. BUT, she wants to win so bad that the will to win overcomes the fear of losing. Sometimes this player with the will to win and uber competitive drive isn’t even the most talented player on the team, and that’s totally okay. When it comes down to it, I want the competitive player over the talent.
Be so good they can’t ignore you.
If we aren’t coaching to win (to truly be the ONE winner), then we are not teaching to compete. You must lose to truly be able to appreciate winning. The way we learn is to fail. Losing is considered failing. If everyone is always a winner, then we never truly learn to fail and won’t push ourselves as hard to become better, learn more, work harder and become more dedicated. Losing is not a BAD thing. We’ve all been losers at some point. BUT, I would be likely to say that the loss fueled your desire to win even higher. It’s human nature. Nobody WANTS to lose. Everybody WANTS to win. It’s not always about your record, but it IS about teaching how to lose and teaching how to win. You can still be teaching these things and have a winning record. I totally get that it’s not all about your record or all about the scoreboard. However, the lessons to be taught by having a conversation about winning and losing, and teaching kids the meaning of winning and losing, has a lot to be said.
Hate the feeling of losing more than you love the feeling of winning.
Competitiveness is going to be what drives players and drives a team. A team understanding that there is always a winner and always a loser is one of the most important, fundamental concepts to learn about sports at a young age; let’s not ignore it. It’s there. It’s real. Teach it at a young age so it’s not a surprise once they become older, when the wins and losses and at bats have more meaning behind them. By teaching winning, you’re teaching fight, leadership, focus, hard work and team work. Sounds like a winning combination to me.
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