Baseball Psychology - What's More Important? Winning or Having Fun?
All kids want to win unless they purely participate for the social aspect of sports.
Winning is fun. Most baseball parents want their kids to be successful in sports. But do they examine their motivation for wanting their child to be successful in sports?
For example, do you want bragging rights? Or, do you want your children to gain confidence through sports that can be transferred to other areas of their lives? Do you want your kids to learn the power of discipline and hard work and how these positive qualities can translate into success? Or are you living vicariously through them, hoping they can accomplish what you weren't able to?
When kids are having fun and truly enjoying sports, practices, competition and the sacrifice that goes into them, they are much more likely to be successful or "win". If sports are not fun and are stressful for kids, they will be less likely to engage in practice and feel confident in competition. Winning flows from enjoyment, confidence and focus. So unlike the chicken and the egg dilemma for which there is no answer, it should be apparent that fun comes before winning - and leads to winning - and is therefore more important. Or if not more important, it is at least its equal and a required element to winning.
You also need to define what winning is for you as a parent. Winning can be defined in many different ways for your child. You don't always have control over the outcome of your child's sports experience. Your child might have a great game and perform very well, but the team lost. Did your child win in this situation? Or because the team lost, do you feel your child lost too? Or the team won but your child played poorly, or worse, gave a poor effort. Is that winning? What the heck IS winning?
We think you should focus on the experience in sports and the fostering of positive mental skills instead of winning - or at least its classic definition. Your objective as a sports parent is to help balance our society's over-emphasis on winning with a focus on enjoying the moment. When kids are having fun; are confident in their abilities; get excited about competition; and are able to handle their emotions during competition, good things will happen.
You want kids to enjoy their experience and at the same time accept that they cannot win every game. Such is life - and what better way to experience that as a child than through sports?
Thank you for reading and I invite your comments.
Jen Scorniaenchi BA, MS
Photos courtesy of www.zimbio.com & www.baseballconfidence.com