In it to win it or to have fun?

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Joined: 04/12/03
Posts: 1686
In it to win it or to have fun?

My daughter has been playing soccer for 3 years. The first year she was often goalie and did very well. The second year there were no goalies and score wasn't kept. This year the coach won't put her in as goalie.

This year she has moved up to U10. It is very different. The coach is extremely competitive. In fact, on Saturday during the 3rd quarter he said to my 8YO and the other defender, "I don't know why you are even on this team." My daughter replied, "To have fun!" She was very hurt by the comment.

The coach later sent an email saying the girls have slipped from 1st to 3rd and now to 4th or 5th. He definitely wants to win.

I understand that, but my daughter is playing for fun - part of the AYSO mission statement. Yes being part of a winning team has its place. I should mention that she has asthma and allergies so it is a struggle for her. Nonetheless, she really enjoys it and does what she can.

So what's your philosophy for soccer for 8 - 10 YO?

I'm not going to have her quit playing either now or in the future. Just wanted to know what y'all thought and how you are with your children.

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3312

"ethanwinfield" wrote:

My daughter has been playing soccer for 3 years. The first year she was often goalie and did very well. The second year there were no goalies and score wasn't kept. This year the coach won't put her in as goalie.

This year she has moved up to U10. It is very different. The coach is extremely competitive. In fact, on Saturday during the 3rd quarter he said to my 8YO and the other defender, "I don't know why you are even on this team." My daughter replied, "To have fun!" She was very hurt by the comment.

The coach later sent an email saying the girls have slipped from 1st to 3rd and now to 4th or 5th. He definitely wants to win.

I understand that, but my daughter is playing for fun - part of the AYSO mission statement. Yes being part of a winning team has its place. I should mention that she has asthma and allergies so it is a struggle for her. Nonetheless, she really enjoys it and does what she can.

So what's your philosophy for soccer for 8 - 10 YO?

I'm not going to have her quit playing either now or in the future. Just wanted to know what y'all thought and how you are with your children.

I think sports should be a combination between fun and competition...it should be where the two intersect and where kids learn great lessons about so many things. Including teamwork, hard work, fun, the enjoyment of winning, and how to lose gracefully.

I am not a fan of scoreless leagues at any age personally. I think kids can learn to deal pretty well with losing at a young age if they are actually exposed to it....sometimes i think 5 year olds deal better with losing that 9 year olds do.

But this coach seems to be very intense on the competition side of things. I think there is an art to balancing fun and competition and putting that much pressure on a 8 - 10 year old could take a way a lot of the fun I think.

Its okay to emphasize working hard to win, but coaches should remember not to get carried away.

Joined: 08/17/04
Posts: 2226

Anything under the high school years should not have winning as the focus.

Little kids/elementary~fun, learning rules of the game, learning to be part of the team
Middle school/Junior high~still fun, leaning to more competitive..not everyone may get to play each game etc but everyone still gets to play through the season.

Joined: 04/12/03
Posts: 1686

"Jessica80" wrote:

Anything under the high school years should not have winning as the focus.

Little kids/elementary~fun, learning rules of the game, learning to be part of the team
Middle school/Junior high~still fun, leaning to more competitive..not everyone may get to play each game etc but everyone still gets to play through the season.

This is one of the things I really liked about AYSO. Every kid plays at least 2 quarters every game. Each kid is supposed to sit out 1 quarter.

Joined: 08/17/04
Posts: 2226

Yes I think all young kids should get a chance to play every game. Helps them to learn.

By middle school, I relax that stance. May not play every game but maybe alternate. I'm not against everyone getting to play though in the MS years.

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6560

Learning how to deal with failure is a valuable life lesson. I am not in support of scoreless games. That said, there is no need to make winning so important that you crush the spirit of the child. What will happen when a child grows up never having learned to deal with failure has a job and is competing with a co-worker for a promotion? Will the boss say "I am so sorry, how about you both get the promotion"?

GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
Posts: 4116

I think there needs to be a good mix. Every child should be allowed to play at that age. I do think they should keep score and the kids need to learn how to lose or win gracefully. I always tell my boys it ok to lose as long as you did your best. If someone is goofing off I don't think it's a problem for the coach to say somehting about it but as long as they are doing their best that should be good enough.

Joined: 03/08/03
Posts: 3187

"GloriaInTX" wrote:

I think there needs to be a good mix. Every child should be allowed to play at that age. I do think they should keep score and the kids need to learn how to lose or win gracefully. I always tell my boys it ok to lose as long as you did your best. If someone is goofing off I don't think it's a problem for the coach to say somehting about it but as long as they are doing their best that should be good enough.

I agree.

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4100

Our league has "rec level" as well as "competitive" divisions starting at U10. When your team signs up, the coach has to declare which division you're playing in; if there's an odd number of competitive teams, then they ask the top-ranked team from the last season if they want to play competitively, or the second team if the first team declines. At U8 and U9, it's all recreational; scores are kept but there are no play-offs, and rankings are only used to make sure that teams are well-matched for the second half of the season or the next season. At all ages, if your team is "rec level" then there are no try-outs, and everyone has to play at least half the game as long as they're on time & attended practice. We also have "Microsoccer" which is the developmental league. The kids play 3-on-3 on tiny fields with no goalie at U5 and U6, and 4-on-4 with a goalie at U7. In Microsoccer we don't officially keep score but the kids usually know. Microsoccer is too cute!

ClairesMommy's picture
Joined: 08/15/06
Posts: 2299

"Spacers" wrote:

Our league has "rec level" as well as "competitive" divisions starting at U10. When your team signs up, the coach has to declare which division you're playing in; if there's an odd number of competitive teams, then they ask the top-ranked team from the last season if they want to play competitively, or the second team if the first team declines. At U8 and U9, it's all recreational; scores are kept but there are no play-offs, and rankings are only used to make sure that teams are well-matched for the second half of the season or the next season. At all ages, if your team is "rec level" then there are no try-outs, and everyone has to play at least half the game as long as they're on time & attended practice. We also have "Microsoccer" which is the developmental league. The kids play 3-on-3 on tiny fields with no goalie at U5 and U6, and 4-on-4 with a goalie at U7. In Microsoccer we don't officially keep score but the kids usually know. Microsoccer is too cute!

Agreed. It's like a little swarm of bees around the ball. Darned cute.

eta - I think that the competitiveness varies from sport to sport. I think in Canada, in general, it's fair to say that the majority of parents don't put their boys in hockey to 'have fun'. Hockey parents, again generally speaking, can be nuts about the sport and going to all these tournaments, 5 am practice, ice time at 11:30 pm on a school night, fighting with the coach, fighting with other parents, etc.

wlillie's picture
Joined: 09/17/07
Posts: 1796

"GloriaInTX" wrote:

I think there needs to be a good mix. Every child should be allowed to play at that age. I do think they should keep score and the kids need to learn how to lose or win gracefully. I always tell my boys it ok to lose as long as you did your best. If someone is goofing off I don't think it's a problem for the coach to say somehting about it but as long as they are doing their best that should be good enough.

I agree.

Joined: 11/28/06
Posts: 848

I know nothing about soccer. Absolutely nothing. But I can imagine that if my daughter wanted to play soccer she would only want to play at a recreational level for fun. She isn't a soccer fanatic, doesn't want to play soccer on a high school or college team, and wouldn't dream of trying to make a career of it. I think that's true for a lot of kids. They enjoy a sport enough to join a team but don't want to be hounded about being the best and spending every free second practicing. I think it is sad if coaches are discouraging kids from playing just because winning isn't their main priority.

That being said, some kids are very serious about soccer (and other sports/hobbies) and the competition aspect is no doubt important to them. Those kids belong on a more competitive team and they would likely welcome the pressure. I know that's how my oldest daughter feels about dance. She would be offended if I told her dance was just for fun, because for her it is a very serious thing and she is always striving to be the best.

I'm rather sick so my thoughts aren't coming out too clearly I'm afraid, lol. To sum it up, I think there should be different levels for different kids. If this coach is so focused on winning and being the best at a rec level and it is discouraging kids from playing a sport they enjoy I think that's sad.

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4100

I totally missed where you said your daughter has asthma. WTF does that coach expect, that she's going to be able to run all over the field? She sounds like a perfect goalie to me. Our best goalie -- besides Tiven who has wicked-fast reactions and hands of glue, LOL -- is an overweight girl with asthma. And our two best defenders are tiny little girls, as in really super-small for their ages; they simply can't run around as much or stand up to the bigger kids, but they do a damned good job of kicking the ball away whenever it comes close to our goal! We've had only one goal scored against us all season. Of course, we've also tied two games 0-0 but that's OK because they were really good games.

Tiven is already talking about getting a soccer scholarship to USF. I told her if that's where she wants to go to college, she's going to need a scholarship!

smsturner's picture
Joined: 05/11/09
Posts: 1303

That is totally lousy for a coach with 8 year olds!!

Sports at that age should totally be fun. There should be some competition, that increases as you get older. But for 8 year olds? I think mostly fun.

I like the way it's set up at my kids school. They have one team that's for competition and you try out and everything. Then they have another that's for the kids that aren't dying to go win, and want to have fun. They still compete, but it's not the major pressure, and it's more for fun. It's nice too, because the kids that are dying to win don't have to be upset with the ones that are just out for fun.