To avoid discouraging losers, British youth soccer (known as “football”) for seven- and eight-year-olds has banned coaches from publicizing which team has the best record in the league, reports The Telegraph. No prizes may be given. Some local associations have banned tracking results or awarding trophies for nine-, ten- and 11-year olds as well.
Scott Ager, who last season managed Priory Parkside under-9s ‘A’ team in Huntingdon, was sharply reprimanded after declaring that his team had won the league and having them photographed with a trophy by their local newspaper.
The theory is that children need time to build their skills and enjoy the game before worrying about winning and losing. However, it’s rare to see kids who don’t know which is the best team in their league.
All this has national implications.
During a visit to the Olympics in Beijing last month, (Prime Minister) Gordon Brown admitted that Labour’s decision to reduce competitive school sport had been a “tragic mistake” and promised to re-introduce it.
“We want to encourage competitive sports in schools, not the ‘medals for all’ culture we have seen in previous years,” the Prime Minister said. “It was wrong because it doesn’t work. In sport you get better by challenging yourself against other people.”
Fewer British children play on school sports teams each year. Perhaps it’s boring if nobody wins and nobody loses.