“Play for Fun but Win for the Team!” is my youth tackle football team’s slogan for the 2008 Arvada Youth Football Association’s Pirates. After a Flag game loss in 2007, my 9 year old players taught me they like having fun but not if they are going to lose. They really want to win, because we all know Winning is always Funner! How can all the modern day Child Psychologists be wrong? I digress.
I always loved to play football, I wanted to win but as a young football player I knew that I did not have control over the other players and the outcome of the game. I had to do my best and hope that everyone was doing the same. I was lucky, at the Pee Wee level in Spring Branch, Texas in the 1970’s we (The YMCA Dad’s Club – Bulldogs) went undefeated for many years and lost maybe 6 games in a 5 year time span.
When I reached Jr High, we moved to a new growing area of North Houston (Spring/Klein) and I played for a brand new Middle School and High School. These were average football teams at best. Unlike my Select Youth Football experience winning City of Houston Championships in Rice stadium.
At the new High School we had losing records all but one year. Our 1980-1982 HS football program started from scratch, which was tough, especially in our Texas 5A district. But, at least as a Pee Wee player I felt what it was like to win. And Winning is Funner! I will say that I did have great position coaches in Middle School and High School which made losing a bit more tolerable. But I hate losing anything. LOL!
Play for Fun but Win for the Team
Last year in 2007, I fielded a Pee Wee flag football team. It was about half of my tackle team. In one the first game of the season, I told the kids we would win the first half and play for fun in the second half and not worry about the final score.
This was a great strategy, so I thought, until the 4th game when we officially lost, because we played for fun in the second half. The players were so unhappy about losing, even though we all agreed before the season on our second half play for fun strategy. The players took a vote after that loss that they did not want to lose any game because of our fun strategy. I was very surprised, because the lineman and 3rd string backs who I rotated in at backs during the second half fun game time voted unanimously to play to win. They did not care about rotating in to run the ball, if that meant they might lose the game.
and Winning is Funner!
I learned a lot that day about all of the recent theories about competition for young players. Kid’s like competition and want to keep score. They like the challenge that sports offers them. Life is a competition and we should not water down sports just so everyone can get a trophy. I relearned that fact from my flag football players. Play for Fun, and Winning is Funner!
Play for Fun & Winning is Funner!
Have you lost a game playing for fun and your and or your players were upset? How do your players feel about losing? Are they very competitive or do they just like playing the game? What is your philosophy on winning and losing at the youth football level.
Please leave me a comment below or contact me anytime. I love talking youth football coaching!
Remember to Play for Fun and Winning is Funner!
Fort Worth, Texas
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