What are the repercussions of the coaching mentality “win at all costs”?
I enjoy sports at the non-professional level more so than professional sports because there are more occasions where you find athletes competing for “love of the game” and not “show me the money.”
I remember when my children were growing up and they expressed an interest in sports. They went to try out for a local elementary school where I learned my first lesson on Warren County sports. I thought, naively at the time, things were like they were when I was in school. You went out for a sport and they filled the team with as many players as wanted to play. What I found instead was a coach who had picked the team before tryouts even began.
I was disgusted with the environment and what we allow to happen in the name of winning. My children didn’t play sports with the exception of T-ball after that, as they were disillusioned. My youngest went on the enjoy being part of the band all four years in high school and I was very proud of her for finding a team she felt part of.
Even at the elementary school level, we have situations where some coaches have a single mind-set … win at all costs.
I remember something Lester Strode told me when he was here. Baseball is a game about failure where you fail more than you succeed. I wouldn’t care if we didn’t win a single game if the students were having fun playing the sport, learning good sportsmanship, developing their team mentality and personal athletic ability … but that’s me.
“Failure is never quite as frightening as regret”
How can you take children who just want to be part of a team, and then teach them they just aren’t good enough because we’re just having to win so you don’t play or get coached?
As a longtime member of the armed forces and then a manager of people in the civilian world, there was a saying which I feel is pretty accurate. “You get the team you deserve.”
Maybe if we focus on what’s important, winning will come out of the effort, maybe not but I – for one – would rather say I did the right thing, win or lose.
With society being what it is today, and people are moving further apart as tolerance and understanding of others gives way to I’m right and you’re wrong, I think it’s even more important for our children to learn being part of a team doesn’t mean you win all the time.
“To be as good as it can be, a team has to buy into what you as the coach are doing. They have to feel you’re a part of them and they’re a part of you.” – Bobby Knight
Thanks to all the coaches out there who still do it for the learning experience that comes out of it rather than the wins they get from it.