How important is losing?

A youth football coach's preseason email to parents has been in the news this week, and not for a positive reason. According to many sports writers, the email, which prompted seven families to drop the team, is a bit harsh for players under 10.

In one of his more caustic moments, the coach, Camron Miller, writes, "Players practice full throttle unless they are injured. … It’s about team! If you don’t love being a Bulldog and can’t wholeheartedly commit, you are in the wrong place. … You are either getting better or getting worse."

There has been a long back-and-forth about the value of winning in youth sports. It's a complicated issue, framed by the trend in recent years of having numerous consolation prizes at games and the radicalization of parents and coaches, like the Bulldogs', who put intense pressure on their youngsters to win at all costs.

Losing may have slid into the background, but it is an extremely important aspect of sports and can impart valuable lessons to children.

Susan Kelsey, a member of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, argued in a press release that losses should be seen as "teachable moments." It is important for children to learn that they are not perfect, nor is anyone, and perhaps most critically, that they are not the same as their failures.

The reality is that while Mr. Miller clearly wants to avoid it, losing is one of the best experiences that can come from participation in youth sports. It is important for parents and coaches to consider every mistake as an opportunity character and learn as both a team and individuals.

It's almost time for fall sports to start up again, and as athletes are upgrading their gear for the new season, they need to make sure they are taking good care of their investments. To do this, athletes everywhere are using Cleatskins cleat covers so they don't need to worry about damaging their spikes or other special athletic footwear, such as wrestling, cheer and volleyball shoes. Cleatskins make great gifts for athletes and are fashioned to fit a wide selection of athletic footwear.

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