Raising North Dakota: Focus on Fun Over Winning

Good Day Dakota

It’s easy to get wrapped up in the game, vying for your team to win.
But how much should we focus on winning the game when it comes to our kids?

In this week’s Raising North Dakota, we talk about winning versus having fun.

“If it’s not fun, people don’t want to do it,” says Kevin Klipfel, the Facilities and Programs Director at Bismarck Parks and Recreation.

Klipfel hit the nail on the head … fun over winning, echoing the goal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
AAP says families and communities should emphasize the enjoyment of sports over winning the game.

“What we teach our coaches is that we want to make it fun and exciting every day,” states Klipfel.

Valerie Schoepf is a mom who appreciates how BPR focuses on fun. She says it keeps her kids coming back.

“We’re talking about little kids who are still learning the basics, and so I think the coaches are right on point,” shares Schoepf.

While some parents dream that their children will follow in their footsteps – to be the next captain of the team and dominate the sport they fell in love with, AAP stresses the fact that the interest should start with the child, NOT the parent.

“I think it’s important for kids to pick up different activities that they like,” says Klipfel. “And sometimes parents push kids into the program or activity they like. If the kid does not like an activity, they’re not going to stay active with it.”

“They’re learning skills,” states Schoepf. “Maybe they’ll go to college on an athletic scholarship, maybe they won’t, but we’re too young to get hung up on that right now.”

It’s up to the parents and coaches to help the child focus on having fun, learning as they go, and helping them remember – winning isn’t everything.

And while some of us are naturally more competitive, organized sports for kids can always be a fun experience if we help to make it that way.

“Competition isn’t bad, I think it’s how we parents react to that competition,” explains Klipfel. “If we understand that kids aren’t going to make all the plays, officials aren’t going to make all the right calls and that in the end, as long as kids have fun, that’s what matters.”

Click here for the full clinical report, “Organized Sports for Children, Preadolescents, and Adolescent.”

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