On a totally different note, my interesting observation came after I was debriefing with my oldest son after his soccer game this weekend (39 degrees and rainy...perfect soccer weather!). I always spend some time asking him to evaluate the game and how he felt, what he had fun doing and how the other team played. He mentioned that he didn't play well and I asked him why he thought that. His response was because he didn't score a goal (he did hit the top crossbar with a gnarly shot but it bounced back into the field). He seems to judge his performance based on whether he scores or not.
Of course, after about a minute of reflecting on his response, I sat him down, looked into his eyes and told him that success is not measured by winning or losing or scoring or not scoring a goal. Success is measured by how much fun you had playing the game, by not giving up, by trying your best and by contributing as a team member. I think he got it as he saw the seriousness in my eyes and facial expression but it made me think of the messages that kids are getting these days in terms of what success is and how self worth is measured.
I very bluntly tell the parents of my soccer team before each season that I do not and will not focus on winning and losing because at this age, my focus is on teaching the kids to love the sport of soccer by teaching them skills and continually supporting their successes with positive feedback and praise. Of course, that doesn't mean I don't have them run if they do not obey our teams three rules: 1) never give up, 2) never sit down and 3) always listen, but it is all portrayed in a very positive manner.
Sport in society today, in my opinion, carries some very interesting mixed messages for kids. I'll just leave it at that and will get off my soapbox knowing that at least this coach is doing the right thing to promote a lifelong love for sport and physical fitness.
Until next time...