Cooperation and participation is always the number one priority

Man winning a tennis match

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Man winning a tennis match

Winning is the most important thing. Those words have been taught from a young age. How hard you work or how much time you put into playing will always fall second to the finish line or the first place medal. Sports have evolved into a constant cycle of placing an emphasis on always winning and being devastated that what you did was not enough. Sports are not about the wins or the losses, but rather it is all about learning how to be on a team and the cooperation and participation that come from it. Winning can and should come second to having a good time.

As a kid, you are only supposed to be focused on being involved in something. Being good at it or learning how to become the best should always be second. Putting excess pressure on children and teenagers to be the best without letting excitement in is a travesty. Rather, celebrate being on the team and participating and cooperating with other people your age.

It is already challenging enough to be on a sports team. Sometimes, it is difficult to want to go to practice all the time and push yourself to a point of exhaustion. However, for some athletes, it is all they can do so continuing to push that winning instead of losing mentality is the only thing that matters to them. This is only going to allow players to hate their game and hate going to these practices where it is just supposed to be about feeling welcomed by your peers. Without the social interactions that people learn at a young age by being in athletics, they are just going to struggle further down the road because they will not know how to enjoy the interactions with the people around them when all they can do is focus on winning and playing for self.

Sometimes it is difficult participating on a team when you do not want to, but the team is there to lift you. However, the minute that the mindset of winning is the only important thing comes out, so does the mindset of hating teammates, coaches, and playing altogether.

Begin to change the mindset that it is okay to lose. It is okay to not like to be on a team. It is okay to learn how to be on the team instead of only focusing on the wins. Participate. Learn. Grow. Stop focusing on what truly comes second to these things: winning.