Here is a thoughtful item from our friend Michael Josephson of Character Counts:

Are Big Egos Bad for Kids?

Some would say yes. Others would say no. Bill Gosse, a columnist and president of TeamScore Inc., a nonprofit organization promoting sportsmanship in youth sports, says it depends.

“I’ve learned an ego is neither good nor bad.  It’s how we use it,” he wrote in a recent column.

When kids start playing sports, their healthy egos can be easily and wrongfully amped up by teammates, coaches, or parents.  “If coaches are in check at the developmental stages (elementary school through JV), pride will be submitted and records won’t matter,” Gosse wrote.

When he got his first assistant basketball coaching job, he was fortunate to have a head coach who didn’t care about records.  His only concern was how much the kids developed. “It wasn’t about playing five guys and going 14-0.”

To Gosse, if you make the team, you’re good enough to play.  If 12 kids are good enough to play, then 12 should play each game.  “What good is a middle school championship when several kids don’t even take off their warm-ups?  Put yourself in the shoes of the young kids who play only at mop-up time.”

To Gosse, if you have the proper perspective, wins will follow.  “I’d rather be held in high regard by a kid who got to play – even if it meant we lost a game or two – than being considered for some youth-level coaching award for number of wins.”

For more, visit charactercounts.org and teamscoreinc.com.


Nancy VanHoeven
# Nancy VanHoeven
Saturday, January 9, 2010 3:00 PM
I agree! I wish more coaches, athletic directors, high school principals, and superintendents subscribed this philosophy. I believe extracurricular athletics at the developmental levels should be concerned with developing skills and character, not with winning records. I also believe the athletic setting should be considered an extension of the classroom, and behaviors of the athletes and coaches should always be appropriate and consistent with what is expected in a classroom.

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From the Director is the official MHSAA Blog which will touch on pertinent school sports topics periodically throughout the school year from various MHSAA Staff.