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Turning Losing into Learning

Posted on 13th December 2016 by Jimmy Haarhoff

Turning Losing into Learning

Winning is fun, there’s no doubt about it. After working hard and showing off your skills, of course you want to win. But, do you think it’s good for your child to win every time?

It’s a funny question, and I’m sure your initial reaction was probably yes, but, if you really think about it, you may change your mind.

Winning all the Time

Although winning will boost self esteem and help gain a good reputation, it won’t help children feel challenged. We want children to learn and grow, they should feel a sense of pride when they finally overcome a barrier they’d not been able to before.

The Positive Effects of Losing

Teamwork

We understand that losing may not be ideal, it can upset the players, but, children are at the prime age of developing. We want them to learn good sportsmanship and come back bigger and better, it’s ok to have a little down time and be upset about a recent loss, but they should feel as though they can’t give up.

S2S Courses want all children to be successful, we include all children of all abilities and encourage children to help one another. We don’t push children too hard, we show our support and help them see that sports is fun, if they lose, that’s ok. They’ll do better next time.

We Admit it can be Tough

We admit that it can be tough watching children get so upset when they lose, so we’ve put together three questions you can ask your child or team to make them feel better, recap and get ready to try again.

What went well?

As young athletes may be feeling down, it is important to start with the positives, give them time to think about all the good points throughout the game, what they did well and how their team worked together.

Giving children the time to focus on the positives will allow them to feel as though they are improving. Even though something went wrong, they did this right. It’s good for them to establish the highlights.

Research also shows that the most effective teams and coaches give at least 6 positive comments for every 1 negative.

How Could you Improve?

After identifying what went well, it is important you allow the team time to think about what needs improving as a whole. What could they do to help boost performance? Start off with some general questions such as: are we working hard enough? Or did we defend well as a team? Parents can also ask their children if they’d like to practice elements during the week, encouraging them to keep trying.

This is a great way to prepare young athletes for critical feedback in the future, because if they work professionally, they’ll need to get used to it. By asking children to start noticing what could be better, it will allow them to feel better when others do as they will have probably noticed themselves.

Why are we Better, Even Though we Lost?

This one may be a slight issue, but it’s important to remember, it's a development process, children might not know straight away, it’ll take time for them to see why they are better for losing.

This question helps young athletes understand the loss and take ownership of their training and prepare for a comeback.

If children are able to identify ‘we are a better team because we didn’t know how to work as a team before, but now we see how’, they have accepted their fault but have drawn up conclusions on how they can change this.

Therefore, it is important to help children understand that it is OK to lose. Help them to overcome their issues and turn losing into learning.


S2S Courses offer a wide range of physical activities ranging from soccer and dance to multi-sport events, in term-time and during the school holidays.

If you want to engage your child in unique, fun, energising sports, call S2S Courses today on 0121 222 5464 or email info@s2scourses.co.uk

Jimmy Haarhoff

By Jimmy Haarhoff

Jimmy is Steps2Sport's Managing Director. His vision is to inspire children, young people and families for life.

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