The Photo Gallery 179: Sport

My husband is a juniors rugby coach.
He moulds young minds. He passes on his years of experience playing the sport he loves. He teaches how to tackle safely and effectively. How to work as a team. And, just as importantly, how to lose.
He gives of his time freely because he can see the huge benefits it brings to the young people in his charge.
And what’s so great for my son (and all his team mates) is that they have another two  coaches who are exactly the same.

Over the years we’ve done the ‘for every try you score I’ll give you £1 (or equivalent reward). We’ve all been there.
Not so much for the glory of winning, but to give your player that little added incentive to dig a little deeper. Keep going. Discover great wells of determination.
But we don’t do that any more, and here’s a perfect example of why. Maybe it will help you reevaluate how you reward your children too?

A couple of weeks ago the boys faced a tough fixture. They were travelling to play one of the Big Clubs. One of those clubs swimming with so many players in each age group, they could field about four teams. We have one. And about two subs.
On top of this another local giant asked if their Under 11s could also come along and play in a three-way fixture. Two giants; our minnows.

Our boys were really apprehensive. They smelt defeat.
Their coaches told them to dig deep, think about what they’ve been coached and play as a team.
They told them they believed in them and that they had what it takes to win – each and every one of them – no matter what the odds said.
They told them to go out there and enjoy themselves.

The boys won both matches. They showed a grit and determination that made every parent there proud.
And it cost us nothing!

But here’s the thing.
Had there been rewards on offer for tries scored, what about the boy who worked his guts out in the scrum to feed the ball out?
What about the lad whose tackles keep the opposition away from the try line?
What about the player who worked his legs off, making a difference, but was no where near the try line?
They all had a fantastic game. But they wouldn’t have earned one of those £1s. And I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t have felt the warmth of success once they came off the pitch.

Basing rewards on one criteria – in this instance scoring tries – won’t make kids feel successful.
Many kids play positions which mean they’ll never get a shot at scoring. Yet they turn up every Sunday, play hard and do as their coaches ask.
Some kids are faster, more agile, but they wouldn’t be running down the wing with that ball unless the rest of team made it possible and cleared the way.


On Sunday, their coaches showed that rewarding effort, determination and teamwork is a far greater ‘carrot’.
As far as I’m concerned, sport is teaching my kids vital life skills that will help them in adulthood. How many tries scored won’t matter a jot. The fact that they can work as a team, be respectful, keep their heads up in the face of difficulties – those are the scoresheets I want them to feature big on!

By the way, I overheard one of the other coaches talking to his team after we had beaten them and tear his players off a strip. They all stood there with their heads down and wandered off dejected and uninspired.

This post is for week 179 of The Photo Gallery: The theme is Sport.
If you’re new here and want to know what The Gallery is, go and read here, and then come right back and join in!

 You can also pick up The Gallery code if you want too, though it’s not a requirement. And you could also subscribe to this blog to make sure you never miss a theme; they are posted here every Friday.

Now go forth and show some big blog love. Visit other bloggers, comment on their post if you feel moved to do so, and be inspired.
This virtual gallery of photographs is about enjoying each other’s work, so go make someone’s day. You will get out of this whatever you put in.

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See you over there x

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29 Responses to The Photo Gallery 179: Sport

  1. Jess @ Catch A Single Thought says:

    Well done to the team for working as a team and winning! I imagine it could have been easy for them to become intimidated. I agree so much with what you have said about sports, these are the lessons I remember learning and one of the reasons I hope my two children are just as active when they are a little bit older.

  2. becky says:

    A good coach is just SO important Tara !
    My recent post I did my Sports Relief 10k in my bedroom!

  3. The strange thing about coaches tearing a strip off a losing team is that for many it works and pushes them to win next time. I find it odd, I’ve always thought people respond better to positive approach but in male team sport the negative shouty approach seems to flourish.

    • Tara says:

      I've seen it a lot K, but it goes against everything coaches are taught to do (certainly by the RFU)
      Shouting and berating a 9/10/11 year old is only going to make them either switch off from the sport or become aggressive. I've witnessed coaches speak to their boys in the most appalling manner that I've had to say something! There is no way I'd let anyone speak to my son like that, I don't care how good the coach is. I want him to enjoy himself and have a great time. If he decides to go down the competitive route and want to take it further, then fair enough. But kids sport? There's no place for that kind of coaching in my book
      My recent post The Photo Gallery 179: Sport

      • Totally agree with you, I removed Cog from a karate club when the instructor shouted at her at a level beyond usual shouty karate instructor. It was just horrid and I said to him "she's a 7 year old girl not a strapping man" It was just too much.
        My recent post People Watching

  4. saveeverystep says:

    Lovely pics, taken by a proud mummy!

  5. suzanne says:

    Ooh I got all emotional reading this and absolutely agree with you. Team sport is about working towards a goal together and every single member of that team is VITAL, not just the person scoring the try or the goal. My son plays in a football team, none of them are particularly good (some stand out but most are just trying their best). The coach is so encouraging and congratulates them on their their hardest, even though most weeks they loose. I know this wont ever make them champions in the league but it will create some well-rounded, confident people who look out for the other members of the team and who encourage one another. Phew, I could have written a whole post on that myself!
    My recent post MAD Blog Awards Finalist – Moi?!

  6. sarahmo3w says:

    Love this post! My younger son’s team are minnows too – they won an 8-a-side tournament at the start of the season with just eight players. From there they picked up a few more players and knocked the favourites out of the County Cup in the group stages. Finals this Sunday – I can hardly wait!
    Oh, and if you reward kids for scoring tries it makes them selfish and hold on to the ball when they should pass. Then they get tackled and lose possession! Winning is definitely reward in itself 🙂

  7. Penny says:

    My husband was telling me about some research he read which says intelligence comes from rewarding effort not achievement. Def born out here, kids need to know it is worth persevering and trying out new tactics, not just the end goal. Love that beany hat pic, such determination hiding under there! Thanks so much for flagging up #teamhonkrelay when we were flagging Tara!
    My recent post Pass the Baton #TheGallery #TeamHonkRelay

  8. That's my Mum says:

    What a great post, I think sport is so brilliant for kids. They learn so much about working as a team, and being committed to something. Win, lose or draw 🙂
    My recent post . . . Sport Relief 2014.

  9. Charly Dove says:

    What a wonderful post Tara, really lovely. Sport is just the best form of teamwork – even better when it's rugby. I love that second photo of Dan, great capture 🙂
    My recent post Sainsbury’s Sport Relief Games 2014

  10. WallyMummy says:

    We love a bit of rugby over here 😉 husband is juts finishing off his qualifications to coach and hopes to start a nippers team! love it! xx

  11. Kara says:

    Great photo's – my boys are football players and I have to admit they are never going to play for England but they have lots of fun!

  12. Gorgeous post! You are absolutely right about the coaching styles too. My daughter has a drama class and whilst the teacher is great at teaching, I've watched that class come out time and again with their heads down from a ticking off, having been told that the afternoon class do it better than them. It's not how you get the best out of kids, even if it is like that in the adult world.
    My recent post MAD Blog Awards Finalists. Wot so Funee about that?

  13. Pingback: The Gallery: Sport | Mymumdom

  14. SusanKMann says:

    What an awesome post x
    My recent post The Gallery 179 – Sport

  15. Great post, I love the idea of working as a team to achieve something together. I'm looking forward to seeing if monkey enjoys football or rugby when he's a bit older.
    My recent post Fruit Bowl Fruit Shapes – a review

  16. LauraCYMFT says:

    Great post. Sport is definitely about teaching team work, discipline and respect for yourself and others. I'd hate for my kids to be disheartened because their coach made them feel that way. They can't always win and that's a good lesson to learn but it's about how they are built back up from that defeat that really counts. Sounds like your son is part of a fantastic team. Well done them.
    My recent post Sport #TheGallery

  17. mummiafelice says:

    Fantastic! Those photo's are just amazing. My boy loves his Rugby too 🙂
    My recent post The Gallery – Sport

  18. jennypaulin says:

    wow what a wonderful read! you can see how proud you are of your young man (cant really call him a boy anymore i guess) and he is so handsome.
    I think it is very important that klids enjoy sport and be active outside!! i also agree about the coach and his methods – he sounds like a great man to have in charge of the team and he will get much more out of the team and vice versa because of his attitude x

  19. Pingback: The Gallery: Sport - Bad Fiction

  20. Jaime Oliver says:

    Tara what a beautiful post i adore the team photo, it makes you feel the tension and support xx:)
    My recent post Dear Bethany – From Tween To Teen

  21. I love that, it made me feel all warm inside. I wish I'd played team sports, and I wish my daughter was interested in playing team sports, but I was useless at all sports and our daughter shows no interest so far….unless climbing trees is a team sport….
    My recent post Calling all primary school teachers and parents

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