Thursday, October 18, 2018

Day 3284 - Should we give our kids participation medals?

What does a trophy mean to you?

Trophies for best & fairest and most improved 
I am smack bang in the middle of awards season with our soccer club.  We had our Community Juniors Presentation event last weekend and we've got our National Premier League event tonight.

I love seeing the smiles on kids faces when they walk away with their medals and trophies.  Medals to congratulate them on another full season of playing the sport they love, and trophies to those children who shone a little brighter than the rest. 

I'm an advocate for recognising participation, but there is still a big school of thought out there that believes trophies should only be given to winners.

I'm not going to even try and work through the fors and againsts for both.  There are a gazillion articles saying it's no good and strips kids of the will to win. Psychologists weigh in on the whole debate and the reading can become quite heavy.

It doesn't have to be heavy.

Let's keep it light.

Let's just celebrate kids playing the sports they love.

I like celebrating children in sport by rewarding them for participation because I don't think sport is about winning.  I actually think sport is about participation.

Sure, there are teams that are more competitive than others.  Sure, it's nice to win and push yourself to be the best that you can be.  Sure, that will and drive can then lead to great success in other areas of life.  But for those people, I'm pretty sure they're not doing it for the winner's trophy. They're doing it for the passion and the feeling that winning gives them, which in itself is its own reward.

Giving a child a participation medal helps them to feel valued.  It recognises they have something to offer the world, even it if it simply passing the ball to someone who passes the ball to someone who passes the ball to someone else who finally scores the goal.  It shows they are part of a team of people who work together to achieve results.  A goal can't be scored until first the ball is passed up the field by a bunch of other players. Surely that's worthy of recognition?

Participation medals mean we aren't just praising natural talent, but we're also praising the effort and commitment that goes into turning up to training and games each week.

Players in the big leagues get paid to play whether their team wins or loses.  Surely our littlies deserve the same sort of recognition.


Medals for participation and trophies for those who stand out

Tip: Give medals or small trophies for participation and leave the bigger trophies to those who performed with greater passion, skill and results. 

I'm lovin' awards season. I love watching the kids feel proud of being in a team.  I love hearing the jangle of medals and seeing little fists proudly grasp a trophy.  

How about you? 

Where do you stand in the "participation medals" debate?

Anyone else out there in the midst of awards season?

What are you lovin' about life this week?


Note: this post is about celebrating youngsters in their sport at a community level. This is not a post about elite sports people or those participating at higher levels. Rewards and recognition at those levels is a whole other topic of conversation.    

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It's Lovin' Life Linky time! 

The Lovin' Life Linky is brought to you by Team Lovin' Life: Deep Fried Fruit, DebbishWrite of the MiddleAnd Anyways50 Shades of Age and Lifestyle Fifty  



22 comments :

  1. I'm kind of against them, but I also kind of get them. And then there is the thing that some kids play selflessly and pass the ball on, and the striker gets all the glory and notice. So does that kid miss out? I don't know actually, Need to think about it.

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  2. I am in the participation group. The reason is because no matter how much kids might be contributing to their sport, their school etc, "showing up" and "being a part of a team" is for them a "win". I know there are two minds on all this. But for me, an inclusive person who recognises excellence too, participation and the act of being in a team deserves some recognition. I know that they may never get something like it again but it means a lot that they did.

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    1. I agree that showing up is still a win. When you factor in all the kids in the town/state/country in that age group compared to the number actually hitting the field/court, it's important to recognise those kids who are putting in the effort.

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  3. I believe in the participation medal. Thinking back to when I was a kid, I was never good at sports. I'm a shortie and not built for speed. There's lots of kids who don't particularly excel at sport (they probably excel in other areas) but they give it a red hot go. They participate, they are good team players, and that deserves recognition and celebration. #TeamLovinLife

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    1. I was a ballet dancer then a horse rider, so my sport was a little different. Although I did play netball as a teen. I don't recall getting participation awards, but I did win a lot of ribbons at my horse comps.

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  4. I'm in the value the participation camp. Sure those who have performed over & above should have their efforts recognised, but yeah, give a medal to the kid whose turned up week after week. That's dedication - especially in a Canberra winter - and that should be rewarded.

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    1. I like that we give out medals to participants then trophies to those who have gone beyond. Makes the medal winners still want to strive for something greater.

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  5. I agree sport is about participation, especially with younger kids. My son plays soccer too and I love that they all get a medal at the end of the season!

    Di from Max The Unicorn

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    1. They tend to treasure them too. My son has his lined up on the shelf.

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  6. I agree about emphasising participation in younger children. It's so lovely seeing children excited to just give it a go. And you never know, one day that sport may be their thing. I also love how team sports build friendships and the exercise is so good in so many ways for them both now and in the future.

    SSG xxx

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  7. I'm a bit torn about this one as I've always been supportive of the idea of participation / encouragement awards, but I listened / read something recently (maybe by Mark Manson) who was quite negative about it... saying kids who knew they didn't really deserve the trophy often felt a sense of guilt and it made the trophy mean less cos everyone got them and meant that those who excelled often were discouraged etc... (Can't remember what it was but it was interesting....)

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    1. There are definitely people who will see the negative side. I can only see benefits. With the medals saying "thank you for your participation we value you being a member of our team". Then the trophies saying "you've gone above and beyond and your extra efforts and skill are recognised".

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  8. Yes I'm all for encouraging kids in sport and I think participation medals are a great idea. I've seen far too many overly-competitive parents standing on the sidelines at sport giving their kids a dressing down because they're not performing. I remember my own son when he was around 5 or 6 standing in the goal at soccer showing his opponent his collection of tazos whilst the game was in play. I thought it was cute and never thought to berate him for ignoring the game!

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    1. I know right! The overly-competitive streak in parents can get ugly. It happens all the time.

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  9. Participation medals are good idea especially for younger children. They love the 'hardware' which validates their efforts and encourages them to continue to achieve the trophies.

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  10. It's a hard call, but maybe it's like life and everything else. There's good points and bad points about it. I'm not sure I felt extra special when I got participation medals...but then again everyone is different!
    XOXO
    Jodie
    www.jtouchofstyle.com

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    1. It's interesting because I actually find there is a big difference between the way Americans feel about it to the way Aussies feel about it. Must be a cultural thing. Would make for an interesting discussion one day.

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  11. OOOH, I have a problem with this because I have a problem with youth sports. I believe that we shouldn't keep score or tally up wins and losses until the kids are 12. I think that in the early years it should be going out and having fun and learning the sport. Too many parents get wrapped up with their kids and their sports at too early of an age. Let them go out and have fun.

    Just my view. Thanks for hosting and I hope that you have a wonderful week.

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    1. Our soccer club has similar view. No scoring at the younger ages. I think they start getting competitive at 10. For all those reasons you mentioned.

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I love hearing your thoughts! Keep them rolling in :)

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