In keeping with the general purpose of this blog, I wanted to direct attention to a piece I found here on the MomsTeam website by Lucy Ferris titled "College Recruiting for the Elite Athlete." This article has special meaning to many of my blog posts because of where it places much of its emphasis. It is not just an article on college recruiting of elite level athletes (even though there is a wealth of information on that topic) but details a very important aspect of sports participation I fully endorse. In her article Ms. Ferris discusses how important emphasizing the “process” and “journey” over the “outcome” is and how it needs to remain a priority for parents and young athletes involved in sports.
It is this idea of process over outcome that really solidifies what the true purpose for youth sports participation, at all levels of competition, should be. When we, meaning the sports parenting community, mistakenly reverse these objectives (outcome over process) the possibility of young athletes gaining intrinsic rewards (strong work ethic, good sportsmanship, character, integrity, priority setting, discipline, commitment, and perseverance to name a few), or even reaching their potential, diminishes. And it is where the attitude exemplified by the statement “winning at all costs” begins. It is in this reversal of objectives that I believe the loss of perspective in youth sports is occurring, and when the “fun” in sports participation for kids starts to erode.
I too firmly believe that the process or journey far outweighs the importance of the outcome, and when I look back through my own personal athletic experience, that is what I learned and that is where I place the most value. The awards and honors were simply one outcome of this process.
This article is a great read for any parent of young athletes.
College Recruiting for the Elite Athlete by Lucy Ferris