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The Negative Consequence of Society's Love to Win

Every time we open a newspaper to the sports page, we see the wins and losses of teams and individuals highlighted in the headlines. TV sports coverage is all about who is likely to win, how they will achieve the win, what the chances are of winning and who won. Because of this we are conditioned or brainwashed to prize the statistical win above all of the essential components that maximize the developmental sporting experience.

Even at the adult level, pursuing the win causes major problems. Performance enhancing drugs, cheating and illegal betting scandals regularly get widespread publicity. Yet many adults still measure their children's success from an extremely cynical and negative win/loss frame of reference. By doing this you guarantee your precious offspring a career of emotional peaks and valleys. Children judged by wins and losses will alternate between elation at the win and depression at the loss. If children are to be maximally challenged to develop they need to be focused on doing their best and encouraged to compete at a level where the statistical wins and losses should be approximately equal in proportion.

There is no benefit to winning most games played. If a team is winning a very high percentage of their games, it only proves that it is playing competition beneath its level. If winning the game is the measuring stick, half the time our kids will be emotionally satisfied and the other half of the time they will be demoralized. This emotional roller coaster is counter-productive to learning and consistent positive growth. This is why the only approach that makes educational sense is one that focuses on individual creative moments of success.

The only thing that endures is character. While the end of an athletic career may be years away, the time to build character is right now. Just as the Redwood tree that stands the test of time must have a strong foundation, so must you. If you don't start out with that foundation of character, you will have a hard time reaching your goals. If you are able to reach them without character, the satisfaction you feel will be fleeting.

A century ago, 50% of all Americans grew up on family farms. Hard work in a close family environment was the norm. Today only 2% of Americans live on family farms. With automation, the constant, physical, grinding challenge of family farming has all but disappeared. Society has changed. Today's youngster is barraged with information from TV, radio, video games, portable CD players, Ipods, CD-ROM, DVD and the Internet. The end result is a significant decrease in activity and a loss of the physical and character benefits associated with sticking to a hard, enduring, movement challenge.

With the changes of the passing years, it has become apparent that competitive sports have assumed a role as one of the most complete forms of character education available in modern society. Where else in this luxurious and physically lazy society does a person have to overcome simultaneous extremes of fatigue, frustration and physical abuse on a daily basis?


Most coaches have philosophies that lock players into rigid positional roles or give some players less playing time than others. Some coaches spend significant playing time on set plays that may never be used by any subsequent coach in their player's career.

These are just a few examples of approaches that are designed to increase the chance of winning the next game but, in doing so, serve to take away learning opportunities that can help players develop skills needed to develop a great self-concept. These coaches use their position, power, credentials and personality to get their way and want to boost their own "press" and ego by achieving the statistical win, albeit to the psychological and physical detriment of their own players. They give recognition on a conditional basis and certain players feel valued while others feel relatively insignificant.

The HappyFeet approach avoids the win/lose by challenging all players equally and by focusing only on developing great individual skills and fitness in fun, fair cooperative environments. This guarantees that each player is developed, supported and challenged in an optimal manner


Some players at the low end of the genetic totem pole will develop a lose/win mindset as a result of sitting the bench, not starting and other more or less subtle messages from the coach. Eventually they will be beaten up on for so long that they have no or low personal standards, demands, expectations or vision. These children become appeasers who seek acceptance from popularity instead of respect. The coach's ego wins because he puts his stronger players on the field to get a result while the bench sitting player loses because the foundations of a strong dynamic character are slowly whittled away by the constant abuses inherent within this widely accepted negative coaching methodology.

The HappyFeet method makes absolutely certain that each player participates equally and enjoys the same teaching attention, thereby guaranteeing that there is no coaching reason for any player to develop a lose/win "I'm a door mat" mentality. In all practices all players are shown equal consideration and challenged with the most rewarding creative skills. In this way, self-concept is continually reinforced and built through successful performance and outcome.


Many coaches start out in a win/lose mode and, because of their short sightedness in their earlier relationship with players, find themselves in a lose/lose situation later. Coaches who pursue a win/lose approach will eventually lose the respect and loyalty of most of their players and their parents because it will be recognized that the coach is in it for himself not the young athlete.

As a consequence, the losing player will eventually rebel and adopt an antagonistic stance where he refuses to listen to the coach and in some instances actively undermines the coach. Dissatisfied players and their parents will spread their frustrations to the rest of the team at great cost to all concerned. Here everyone loses because the coach originally adopted a win/lose approach. Some coach/player/parent situations can degenerate to such a degree that the coach continually punishes the player and the player and parents retaliate by attempting to organize team rebellion.

The HappyFeet approach works to avoid this situation by creating homogenous groups and guaranteeing equal and fair treatment within a coaching framework that is guaranteed to improve all player's physical and psychological capabilities to a far greater degree than conventional methods.

Win/Win The HappyFeet approach is a win/win approach to teaching young players. It is the right thing to do because it is fun, dynamic, fair and ethical. The first and foremost priorities of the youth mentor are impeccable ethical and moral standards. The great coach will be able to look in the mirror each and every night and be able to say that regardless of wins & losses he did the right thing for each and every young player he came into contact with that day. This is the ultimate win/win approach to soccer coaching.

Win/win is where everyone benefits and the results are mutually beneficial and satisfying for all participants. Through this high-risk creative focus all HappyFeet participants are developed to the maximum of their technical, tactical, physical and mental potential in every class. The relationship between the players and teacher is a win/win because although the coach may have to sacrifice statistical wins, the satisfaction of seeing the children achieve and grow as individuals is far more rewarding than short-term victories achieved at the expense of less capable players.

Important Quick Note: The HappyFeet approach is fun, dynamic, challenging and enthralling. Kids love group activities with their friends where they enjoy having a ball each, stories, songs, nursery rhymes, fun games and rapid-fire energetic transitions. It is the positive polar opposite of the traditional lines, laps and lectures coaching method. To the kids, it's a festival of fun, and a party of passion with maximum learning benefits to build great self-concept. In all classes all children move beyond their comfort zone to expand their neuromuscular capabilities.

In the crucial area of self-concept fair and equal treatment is essential, however with regard to personal motivations, characteristics and individual needs, the coach must adapt to provide each child with what he or she specifically needs to maximize development. Being a fair coach will involve pursuing the win/win by allocating attention equally. Great teachers recognize individual differences and address each child’s unique needs. The benefit from the HappyFeet win/win methodology involves central, long-term, core development that can be used throughout a sports career and, more importantly, have a life-long positive impact on successful personality characteristics i.e. self-concept, risk taking, work ethic, fairness and respect.

As Danny Cox, the author of Seize the Day notes, "We would do our children, our fellow human beings, our students, our employees and ourselves a better service if we acknowledged the value of creativity and invested the extra effort to make room for creativity in our daily lives. By creating an environment that encourages and supports uniqueness, creativity becomes part of our lifestyle at home, at school, at work and at play. The high-performance person seeks to maintain a creative flow in his or her life at all times. When creativity is part and parcel of your everyday affairs, life is never dull and you're usually much more productive. Creativity fuels performance by drawing constantly on that reservoir of undeveloped strengths that each of us has within us. Creativity flourishes in an environment of experimentation, playfulness & spontaneous behavior."



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HappyFeet Locations
  • Americas Child Montessori
  • Bellevue Montessori
  • Bright Horizons
  • Cedar Crest Academy
  • City Kids
  • Early World Children's School Bellevue
  • Early World Mercer Island
  • Emmanuel Day School
  • French American School
  • Jan of Ark
  • Kiddie Academy Kirkland
  • Kiddie Academy Redmond
  • KinderCare Woodinville
  • KinderCare Yarrow Bay
  • Lakemont Academy
  • Living Montessori
  • Spectrum Academy
  • The Eton School
  • The Goddard School (Redmond Ridge)
  • TLC Montessori