Remove scoreboards from youth sports, group says
Focus on winning can lead to a drop in participation, sedentary lifestyle, contends LTAD
A group that promotes removing scoreboards in children's sports says removing the focus on winning keeps players engaged in the sport longer.
Richard Way, the project lead for Long-Term Athlete Development (LTAD) with Canadian Sport for Life, says keeping scores and standings for young children does nothing to build self-esteem and positive sportsmanship.
"When we have a little eight, nine-year-old that wants to be creative and take some risks in a game, they're yelled at by parents to pass the ball because it might be a goal against the team and then drop them in the standings," he said.
Way says there is no evidence to support the argument that tracking the number of wins and losses builds character in young players. He calls that argument "laughable."
If anything, focusing on the final score can lead to a drop in participation and more sedentary lifestyles, he said.
"We see the numbers of kids participating in sport going down," said Way.
"The forces of sedentary behaviour like PlayStaion and PS3, and those games, the number of hours that kids play on those go up."
Way says children are naturally competitive, so it doesn't hurt competitive play when scores are removed.
He says for the most part, it's parents who put the most stock in the final results of a game.