The Pros and Cons of the “Every Kid’s a Winner” Philosophy

You’ve likely heard both sides of this argument presented before, and it’s one we’re still on the fence about – should kids be subjected to the “every kid’s a winner” mentality?

For those unfamiliar with this style of coaching and athleticism, (or schooling), it’s associated with every child being praised and rewarded like a winner, no matter if they actually win or achieve last place. This includes giving out trophies, not officially counting the scores of matches and not officially counting anyone as a winner or loser.

There are definitely some cons to this culture of athleticism, but at the same time there are many obvious pros. Decide for yourself where you stand, after reading the below.


One obvious pro to supporting every child like they’re a winner is boosting their self-esteem. Younger children especially take loss and failure very hard in a lot of cases. When they lose a game and are singled out as, quite literally, a loser (whether they caused the game to tip in their opponent’s favor or whether it was a team loss), their self-image takes a hit. Children take this incredibly personal, and while parents and coaches can have discussions with their children about how to handle failure, sometimes it doesn’t stick the way they’d like it to.

For parents and coaches, it is tempting to try and avoid disappointment by handing out rewards to all, and attempting to even the playing field.

It also helps promote a more positive sports atmosphere. If a child experiences loss after loss, this hinders how much fun they have playing sports and can lead them to want to quit. Children get incredibly frustrated when they try and fail, and this doesn’t promote a positive environment to have fun in.


Similar to the original pro, the obvious con with the “every kid’s a winner” philosophy is how it promotes false ego inflation. Many parents believe that children need to deal with the reality of failure early in order to promote being a better-rounded person who handles future loss in a healthy way. The argument made is that children who are constantly rewarded for a loss will not be able to adjust to the reality of failing in real life.

In reality, adult life rarely reward failure with a trophy and a pat on the back – in most instances, there are consequences for failures, as well as disappointment.

Similarly, while this practice is prevalent in younger levels of league sports, it becomes rarer as kids move up in age groups, and in school sports. This can deal a harsh blow to a child who is suddenly faced with the reality of disappointment and sadness, because the usual “high” of the reward is missing after a loss or a cut.

What is your attitude on the topic? How is your league handling rewards and ranking? Email us at with your comments!

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