Should winning be de-emphasized in youth sports?

By Janis Meredith | Posted 9/17/2014

Do you think children should be taught that everyone wins?

I had a parent pose this question to me:

Do you think there is a long-term cost for the “everybody wins” point of view so many put on kids’ sports these days? 

I know what I think, but I can see two sides of the coin. I’ve had my kids be on teams where everyone received a trophy, and I’ve also seen them throw those trophies aside because my young athletes felt they were meaningless.

Pros for “everyone wins:”

  • kids feel valued
  • helps build self-esteem
  • more emphasis on fun

Cons for “everyone wins:”

  • kids don’t appreciate the value of working hard for a victory and actually earning it
  • kids will think that life will always give them “wins”
  • kids won’t learn how to handle defeat in sports and in life

What do you think?

Is there a time and place for the everyone-wins philosophy in youth sports? 

Janis B. Meredith, sports mom and coach's wife, writes a sports parenting blog called JBM Thinks. She authored the Sports Parenting Survival Guide Series and has