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How Do I Teach My Child Winning Isn't Everything?

Sad boy in a hockey uniform, looking sad in locker room

Winning feels great. After all, it's the primary goal of just about every competitive activity, from athletics to spelling bees to trying to earn a scholarship. And there's no better feeling than achieving a goal, right? But if your child focuses only on winning, he  is being set up for major disappointment - because as we all know, no matter how well you prepare or how hard you work, you simply can't win every contest. 

So what's the best way to approach competitive athletic activities with your child? Well, instead of focusing on winning, have your child focus on preparing to win. After all, winning is a byproduct of doing things right. By focusing on preparing to win, your child will develop the skills and fundamentals he will use for years to come.

In addition to focusing on proper preparation, another thing you can do is have your child get into the routine of giving his absolute best during practices and games. Giving his best is the only thing over which your child has control; everything else is out of his hands. By giving his best, your child automatically improves his opportunities of winning. If he gives his best and still doesn't win, then at least he knows he did everything he could do. Imagine the nagging feeling your child will experience if he doesn't give 100 percent and his team loses. He'll always wonder, "Would we have won if I had tried harder?"

In the end, participating in youth sports is about competing with character, learning and honing new skills and having fun. If your child can do that, he will always be a winner, no matter the outcome of the game.