If you have read any of my previous blogs you will know how important I feel sport and activity is for kids. You will also be aware of just how many different activities my children do. However, there is one particular area in kids sports that has me stumped - Why have we stopped scoring?
After every rugby match my son comes running off the field and says to me one of two things, either 'Mummy we beat them' or 'Mummy they beat us', however I have to keep reminding him that we don't score, it is just for fun and enjoyment. You can still have fun and enjoyment whether you win or lose.
This lack of scoring doesn't just happen in rugby, it happens in lots of other sports and life too. We see it through schooling where all children get a ribbon for running in a race, at birthday parties where there has to be something wrapped up in every layer of pass the parcel. Why have things changed so drastically since I was a kid and how are our kids learning resilience and determination to work or try harder next time?
When my children walk off a tennis court after a match, they know well and truly whether they won or lost. This is a good thing! If they won, they get that feeling of elation and know that all of their practice and giving 100% every time was worth it. If they lose, they get that feeling of disappointment and start thinking about why they lost – was the other player just too good, did they put in 100%, what do they need to work on to get better and beat them next time. They also know that when they do win a trophy at tennis, it is rightfully theirs and they absolutely deserve it, they were the best player on the day or at the tournament.
Winning and losing gives children important life skills;
- Being gratious in defeat as well as in victory
- Self assessment - identifying areas for their own improvement
It also gives them a taste of reality. As adults we don’t always win or get rewarded everytime. Someone else gets the job ahead of us or the pay rise instead of us, or we don’t do as well in our exams and can’t get into our course and sometimes things just don’t go our way but we have to bounce back and move on.