Would Not Keeping Score Be Better for the Sports Parents?

2013-09-19T14:56:21-04:00Parenting, Sports Management|

A few weeks ago we reported that the Ontario Soccer Association ruled that all U-12 teams will no longer keep track of goals during the game or keep league standings. We wondered what our sports parents and coaches here in the States had to say about that. Would they agree or disagree? Plenty of sports parents feel strongly one way or the other, but from what we heard it sounded like most of our sports parents are in favor of keeping score. Here are a few of the comments left on our blog;

PLEASE keep score!!!!! When you eliminate keeping score, even with the best intentions, what you are really telling kids is that losing is the worst possible thing that can happen to you and we will do everything we can do to keep you from the terrible, awful, tragedy of losing a game.

Most of the time young players don’t dwell on the outcome – they’ll remember the snack at Would Not Keeping Score Be Better for the Sports Parents?halftime more often than the final score — it’s the adults that distort things. Do we really have to bubble-wrap our children’s emotions for fear they’ll feel disappointment? If your players try their best – you can ask no more of them.

Please continue to keep score. While at an early age kids from 5-7 are learning the fundamentals and basics it’s fine to not have to keep score. BUT from 7 on, we should. Kids want to know whether they win or lose.

But then John Luetkmeyer made a great point on Twitter, “I imagine this is a move to keep parents in check. Kids can handle the loss, adults can’t.” We had to stop ourselves for a second and think about all the football games, Little League games, and soccer game horror stories where we hear about parents getting out of hand. Very rarely are the players the ones that get into confrontations with the other team, coaches, or parents—it’s the parents that are causing the biggest ruckus. Could that be the biggest motivation behind the Ontario Soccer Association’s ruling? Are the no longer keeping scores not for the kids, but because they want the parents to calm down?

We’ve talked a lot on this blog about the impact that sports parents have on young athletes. Parents are the ones that sign their kids up for their first t-ball or soccer team. They are the ones shuttling players to and from practices and games, packing half-time snacks, handle the fundraising, plan team dinners, and more. For better or worse, the attitude that sports parents adopt is often the attitude that their athletes pick up on over time. Are you the kind of sports parent who coaches from the sidelines, loses their cool, and gets a little too invested in each game? While passion is great there is a fine line and when sports parent cross it the whole day can fall apart. Could the Ontario Soccer Association be looking for a way to keep “those” sports parents in line and give kids more time to fall in love with the sport?

A huge percentage of kids quit youth sports by the time they are 13 and many wonder if a large part of that is because parents are ruining the experience and putting a bad taste in the kids’ mouths. Could “those” sports parents be kept in check if sports leagues stopped keeping score until the players were a little bit older? Would that make for a better youth sports system?

Taking John’s point of view into account, does that change your opinion about keeping score in younger leagues?