The Importance Of Participation In Youth Sports

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In recent years, many youth athletic organizations have decided that trophies should be given out for participation, rather than athletic ability. This policy is supposed to promote skill building and equality among all adolescent athletes. While the players may be building skills on an equal playing field, they are also being allowed to believe that they deserve to be recognized for giving their best effort, when in reality that is not the case. Although initiated with good intentions, the policy teaches children that simply participating and showing up is enough, no real effort is needed to be rewarded. While the University of Denver’s developmental psychology professor, Susan Harter, does understand how these trophies can be beneficial, …show more content…
First begin with the older age groups. Give these growing children awards, such as the most valuable player, most spirited, and most improved, that will recognize those who are working hard and also inspire those who do not win to work harder to improve and keep a positive attitude. The younger children might be more of a challenge. Because many parents would like to shelter their young ones from the harsh realities of life, such as the fact that a person’s best isn’t always enough, for as long as possible, many parents will put up a fight when they are told that their children will no longer receive trophies for participation. However, if children are never told that they will be awarded for participating, how would they know to be upset? If youth athletic organizations slowly decrease the amount of participation trophies given out to where eventually only the outstanding players are recognized, there will be far less feelings of entitlement among adolescent athletes. As Anthony Fuda said, a child does not “get an A in school because [he sits] near someone who gets an A. [He has] to study hard and earn that A” (“For Some, Participation Prizes”). Although being introduced to a more realistic situation that the best are rewarded might be heartbreaking for some young children, and the parents that believe their child belongs …show more content…
This makes for a harsh reality when children who were taught for years that they simply had to show up to be rewarded are forced to step into the beginning of the real world where only the ones who work hard succeed. While it may be difficult, especially because it is natural for parents to shield young ones from any form of unfair life, participation trophies have to stop. It may be upsetting when a child does not win when he or she is young, but it will be even more upsetting when he or she is placed into a setting, such as school, where only the hardest worker wins. Although handing out participation trophies allows both the child and the parent to feel like a winner, it also fosters the belief of entitlement for young people. If youth athletic organizations were to stop handing out participation trophies, it would allow children to understand from a young age that people are rewarded based on merit and avoid the conversation where a parent has to break it to the child that life is unfair. This solution will not fix the entire entitlement issue among children, but it will help the issue by cutting down on situations where children feel entitled to win a prize because they tried their best. Children should only get to take home the hardware if they put in the hard

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