It’s a tricky question and an endless debate to which we have an answer. An answer that won’t satisfy everyone, but after long research and discussion, we believe it to be the only reasonable solution.
It’s Not as Simple as You Might Think
What’s more important in youth sports? Giving players equal playing time or winning the game? More often than not, the two can’t go together. You have to opt for one and sacrifice the other.
If you give everyone equal playing time, that inherently means that the weak players will have to play as well. And that often results in a lost game. However, if you don’t allow them to play and thus learn, how are they to become better players?
On the other hand, if you focus on winning, many players won’t get the chance to shine and learn. That will leave you with matches won, but with a lot of disappointed children and parents.
So yes, it’s a tricky question to answer.
It Depends on the Age
Everyone wants to play the game, no matter the sport. That’s especially true when it comes to children. If they don’t get the chance to play in official matches, it will be like they never played at all, and they might as well be sitting at home watching the game on TV.
When children play sports and join teams, they don’t want to train merely. Training for them is a means to an end. They have to do it to get better and finally get a chance to shine in an official match where there are stakes involved.
As youth sports are all about the children, We firmly believe that the children should have the chance to do what they came here to do in the first place – play the game and have fun. Winning the game comes in second place.
However, that’s not all. That should be the case for children up until the age of fourteen and the high school years. At that point, there needs to be a shift in the way of thinking.
Children at that point are no longer only children, they are now real players, and as such, they need to earn their time on the field. At that point, they prefer winning, and they want to keep getting better. Those who don’t have nothing to look for on the field and don’t have to be there.
As you can see, the answer is not simple, and there can never be a universal solution for everyone.
As long as kids are kids, they should have fun, and sports are there to provide precisely that. At these stages of their development, they should only have fun while developing their playing skills. The only way to do that is for them to play the game.
When children get older, there should be a gradual shift towards them earning their place in the game along with a focus on winning the games. Nothing in life will come free, everything must be learned and earned, and when your players are old enough, that’s precisely when they should learn this simple truth. However, they should still have some fun as well!