As I sit here this morning contemplating my last two evenings, I am curious.
If you are involved in youth sports, as a coach, player or parent, I would like your input and insight:
I watched two hockey "elimination"-type hockey games the past two nights, and in both cases, one team came out completely flat, lifeless, seemingly uncaring about the outcome of the game at all. Both of the losing teams were facing the end of their respective seasons and as they were midget and high school level games, both had numerous players who may have been playing the last game of their "careers".
I understand that better teams usually win, but I also have seen so many underdogs outwork and out-passion the favorites in my life, that I have never gone into a game that I played in or coached that I thought we didn't have a shot in.
I do know that if you are paying a "better team" you better work harder then them to have a shot.
To watch two teams, save a player on two who you could really see giving their all, basically sulk their way through three periods, seemingly anxious for the game to end, and because of the situation, the season to end.. baffles me.
Preparation to be ready for this type of game has got to start way before you get to the rink/field/gym etc. After watching thee two contests, it made me wonder if kids are being taught the psychology behind winning.
How d you prepare your athletes for games? Should it be different for "big" games then regular games?
You can't control whether your opponent is bigger, stronger, more skilled, more experienced, has more money, or attended better clinics... but you can control which one of you is going to work harder, and to some degree, you control which one of you is going to play smarter.
If you are not determined to be the hardest working player and team, you are increasing your chance of failure, of losing.
It is my opinion that this is a trickle-down effect of the participation ribbon, and even the Silver Medal.
So I ask, where does the responsibility lie for this type of performance, is it on the coaches, the players or the parents?
My opinion is that to some degree it is on all three, but I'm curious about what you think, and why, and more importantly... How do we stop this trend from becoming more the norm? ...and can we reverse it?