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"Winning" when you deserve it versus "Holding Back"???

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  • "Winning" when you deserve it versus "Holding Back"???

    On the weekend we went to see a friend's daughters hockey game. She and her team mates are in their mid teens.

    The game was VERY one sided to put it mildly. One team scored 25 goals in the 3 periods and the other team - 1 goal. It was truly a bloodbath in every sense of the word.

    One team is better coached and has regular ice time for practices. The other team doesnt. One team has a regular goalie - the other team pulls one of the girls each game, sticks goalie equipment on her and puts her in net.

    At the end of the first period when it was 10-0, the convener of the series went to the coach of the leading team and asked him to tell his girls to not score any more goals - to just practice passing and technique and finesse, etc. The coach refused to do so

    It was getting VERY vocal in the arena at this point with the winning team's parents muttering "poor losers" and the losing team's friends and parents saying how awful it was that the opposing team continued to de-moralize THEIR girls and it wasnt fair and it showed disgusting behaviour all the way round. And that this was supposed to be a FUN tournament to teach the girls sportsmanship and for them to have fun.

    I didnt say much - it was one of those very heated situations and lose/lose all the way round, but over dinner afterwards I did liken it to the equestrian industry where some riders have the benefit of very nice horses, virtually unlimited funds, excellent coaching, the ability to ride every day of the week, the availability of other horses for them to ride and practice on if they choose to do so and other riders competing against them in the exact same classes, NOT having the benefit of all of those factors to help them along and yet they still do manage to hold their own. And how I couldnt even fathom going up to a winning junior rider's coach or mother/father and asking them to please ask Susie to not ride her best in the next few shows as she was already Champion at the last 20 and it was only fair that she give the other kids a chance to win some classes as they were getting demoralized and talking about giving up riding if Susie always beat them

    I dont know. Is there a "right" and "wrong" to this debate? Ive always entered a competition with the sole goal of winning. Not for "practice" and not "for fun" but by knowing I was 100% prepared and I was fully capable of winning if everything went my way. And there is no use bemoaning that someone else won more than I did because they had more money, or more practice time or better coaches - you either suck it up and work harder or find a way to GET better horses and coaching (working student positions, etc) or you accept the fact that you will never beat Susie and quit whining.

    In closing, I look at a rider like Eric Lamaze who came from as far down the ladder as one could come. He had no money, no connections, no good horses or coaches. He was literally starting at Square "0" with a lot of baggage to boot. And yet look at him today so for anyone that says it ISNT possible, Im sure there are several other "Eric's" out there to hold up as prime examples why it IS possible if you want it badly enough ...

    Agree or disagree? Should the winning hockey coach have told his girls to back off and let the other team score some goals to make them "feel better" about themselves?
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  • #2
    I suspect that you may find the attitude of "let the other team feel good about themselves" in a lot of children's sports these days. I do not agree with it. I think it is raising a whole generation of people that don't get the concept of working hard to succeed.
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    • #3
      A win is a win. It doesn't get any more winninger, I know that isn't a word! if you win by a lot. Maybe the need a mercy rule like in little league?
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      • #4
        I agree with both of you. When I was a teen - I was in Softball. There was one other team that we ROUTINELY won against up by 20 or 30 runs. Did it suck for the other team? Sure. But this is all part of sports, and if you want to get better you need to work at it and practice.

        Your friend's coach was 100% right in their decision - and I do agree the other team were being poor loosers.

        I HATE team sports that insist on "awarding" everyone. I don't think this serves the children well later in life.
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        • #5
          Originally posted by CDE Driver View Post
          I suspect that you may find the attitude of "let the other team feel good about themselves" in a lot of children's sports these days. I do not agree with it. I think it is raising a whole generation of people that don't get the concept of working hard to succeed.
          I couldn't agree more. Kids need to learn that sometimes you win, and sometimes you lose. I think the concept of everybody making the team, "A" for effort, and everybody gets a ribbon for trying is not teaching anything. It seems to be doing the exact opposite, and making a society of "victims" who are never at fault for any of their failures in life.

          I was the kid that always lost to Suzy. Did I stop trying or pout that Suzy should let somebody else win sometimes, no, I tried even harder!

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          • #6
            Originally posted by TrueColours View Post
            Agree or disagree? Should the winning hockey coach have told his girls to back off and let the other team score some goals to make them "feel better" about themselves?
            Would this REALLY have made the other team feel better about themselves?
            I don't think so unless they were really tiny kids who didn't understand what winning and losing is.

            I totally agree with the coach who wouldn't tell his/her girls not to give it their best. Good job, Coach.
            You know why cowboys don't like Appaloosas?" - Answer: Because to train a horse, you have to be smarter than it is.

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            • #7
              This puts me in mind of the humble beginnings of the Work To Ride polo team. The kids on the team came from sad situations, didn't know one end of a horse from the other, and had no concept of "team". The horses were mostly donated and certainly not top-drawer polo ponies. Practice times and field availability were scant and scheduled whenever they could fit it in.

              And those kids and their coach came to want it badly enough that they started whipping the pants off the established and better-funded programs.

              So yeah, if you want it bad enough, work for it.

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              • #8
                Great opportunity to put in the guys that don't see much game time. Gives them some experience, evens the playing field a little.

                I do believe each player needs to play an honest, hard game.

                The coach normally has some options that will make his team stronger as a whole, yet minimize the humiliation. Playing second, third string players, trying new offensive, defensive strategies. More difficult scoring attempts. Depends on the sport.

                Individual sports are a bit different as you're competing against yourself as much as anyone else.

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                • #9
                  I think it's different with team sports. If your team is slaughtering the other guys, you put in players who normally sit on the bench, try new plays you haven't perfected yet, etc. Those things help you in the long run and aren't "holding back".

                  That's kind of hard to do with individual sports, including horse sports.
                  Last edited by dogchushu; Nov. 21, 2011, 10:13 AM. Reason: Drat! Rbow beat me to it!

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                  • #10
                    I think the "make everyone feel good" and "no student left behind" mentality has gotten so out of control that there is a whole generation of young adults entering college and the job market (assuming they can even find jobs) with the attitude that they're supposed to get a pat on the head and a cookie just for doing what they're supposed to do.

                    There are some people out there who can't stand the thought of their precious little snowflakes having to face up to the fact that they're not always going to win. So, maybe the parents also need a hearty dose of reality - that they won't always be able to "protect" their kids from losing a game, or getting a bad grade, or having a really crappy and unfair boss.

                    It's that "reality" that separates the good sports and athletes, from the whiny brats who only get where they are because everything was handed to them in order to make them "feel better about themselves."
                    Please copy and paste this to your signature if you know someone, or have been affected by someone who needs a smack upside the head. Lets raise awareness.

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                    • #11
                      Completely agree with Rbow. There is the concept of being gracious in winning, which doesn't get much play in the US. Sportsmanship as a whole is also lacking, and this is a good example.

                      Not saying the stronger team shouldn't play hard or well, but it absolutely was an opportunity for the worst players on the best team to get some ice time etc.
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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by dogchushu View Post
                        I think it's different with team sports. If your team is slaughtering the other guys, you put in players who normally sit on the bench, try new plays you haven't perfected yet, etc. Those things help you in the long run and aren't "holding back".

                        That's kind of hard to do with individual sports, including horse sports.
                        I agree with this.

                        For individual sports there are always options. If little Suzy is waxing everybody on her circuit, time to move up to the next level, ride HC, bring on a young horse, or try a new discipline. Good coaching isn't just about winning, it is about expanding skill sets and helping people to become better in all aspects of the game (of life).
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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by SMF11 View Post
                          Completely agree with Rbow. There is the concept of being gracious in winning, which doesn't get much play in the US. Sportsmanship as a whole is also lacking, and this is a good example.

                          Not saying the stronger team shouldn't play hard or well, but it absolutely was an opportunity for the worst players on the best team to get some ice time etc.
                          I agree as well. Letting the other team win or letting them score points out of pity or whatever would have been wrong, but it is also poor sportsmanship to continue totally slaughtering the other team IMO. Use other players, switch up positions, whatever. I played soccer as a child and one year my team was doing exceptionally well and that is what we did if we were just destroying the other team. We still won, but it wasn't so demoralizing for the other team and it also helped teach us sportsmanship.

                          In the horse world, I have seen analogues where a wealthy and talented person on a very nice horse doesn't just win (the best team should win of course) but flaunts it. It's poor sportsmanship and bad form regardless of whether they deserve the ribbon.

                          There will always be better riders with nicer horses out there than most of us, but there's no excuse for them not to be gracious about it. And really, most of us are probably better off than a lot of backyard kids or whatever, and we have an obligation to be gracious as well.
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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by dogchushu View Post
                            I think it's different with team sports. If your team is slaughtering the other guys, you put in players who normally sit on the bench, try new plays you haven't perfected yet, etc. Those things help you in the long run and aren't "holding back".

                            That's kind of hard to do with individual sports, including horse sports.

                            I think that ought to be key.

                            there is no sense in running the score up by double digits. As mentioned before, you still only get one win for it.
                            (you also risk the chance of losing your starters to freak accidents by showing off like that)
                            I have seen several football score that really made me want to puke (OK, injury rte in football is higher than hockey I am guessing)

                            It's not about making the losing team feel good. They know when they have been beaten heavily. 10 or 30 goals, it's a humiliation.

                            I think this is the direct opposite situation of making everybody feel good: this is sticking it to them in a cheap manner.
                            it has nothing to do with playing your best or such. it's thumbing your nose and sticking your tongue out.

                            Thing is, the losing team probably learned more than the winning team.


                            Oh and the parents? eff them. Most of them never put on a pair of skates in their life I bet!

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                            • #15
                              I used to play in a junior soccer league and sometimes, during regular season (not during competition tour) when teams were definitively not at the same level, trainers used to 'exchange' players to make it more 'even'. I thought it was fair and I enjoyed learning and making friend with players/coaches from other teams.

                              It was getting VERY vocal in the arena at this point with the winning team's parents muttering "poor losers"
                              Yes, the other team were being poor losers but on the other side, being a poor winner isn't much better.

                              I've been taught not to brag (too much) when I win and respect others. On the other hand, I don't mean that this hockey team should have stopped playing their best to let the other team 'feel better'. Both sides should just have shut their mouth and play (especially parents...).

                              Maybe the coach of the loosing team should reconsider his way of doing and be either more prepared to play with such higher level or find other teams to play with that are more even to them. And have a real talk with the whole team and parents regarding the situation.

                              As for the equestrian world : There will always be someone with more money and more talent. Being jealous and envious of others is irrelevant and stupid.

                              Thinking 'what if I had more money/time and better everything' won't change anything because it won't happen! Unless you win the lottery and even then, doesn't mean you have the talent or real desire to get there!
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                              • #16
                                I think that part of how a trainer or coach handles competition is age related to the students involved.

                                Until about five, little kid's higher brain functions have not integrated enough to conceptualize competing, placing and/or winning over others.

                                Any very young kids competitions really should have all get participating ribbons, not be placed.
                                The idea is to teach kids to do their best by certain rules and more important, take turns and wait, learning self discipline.

                                Once kids are older, then you can start, as a coach, managing so they understand putting effort into practices, competitions and what is sportsmanlike.

                                The older kids, those really are not helped any by the better competitors letting off on them.
                                While it may seem that is sportsmanlike, it is also degrading to the lesser competitor and demoralizing to the one not permitted to try as hard as the competition demands.

                                Coaching is a balancing act.
                                As some have mentioned, there are ways to, when way ahead, handicap your team a bit in performance, with the idea that you get to let your less accomplished players be on the field longer, or for all to try new things, or whatever you want to do, since you are so far ahead, the performance pressure is off for your team.
                                That may also backfire, if the other team then pulls ahead after all.

                                Some types of competitions are geared for the more accomplished with the better horses, some not.
                                As a trainer, you need to put your students in the appropriate class, where the competition level will be right for that student.
                                A very good rider with a less stellar horse can compete against a world beater with a rider that doesn't get the best out of that great horse.
                                If you are beaten by a better all around combination, well, that is also part of the game.
                                Winning is nice, but it is not all.
                                Of course, if someone is a very bad rider on a poorly trained horse and never place, they should take more lessons, not keep showing to win.
                                No sense in keep doing the same and expect different results.

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                                • #17
                                  I think its apples and oranges in this case.

                                  When someone beats you in the horse world, it isn't a "slaughter". (Except when they get a 72% in Dressage and you get a 49% )

                                  I am not a softy - I don't let my little kids beat me in Checkers or Sorry! But I might hold off on putting a hotel on Boardwalk if I'm way ahead in Monopoly.

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                                  • #18
                                    besides, it's not unheard of that when a certain pair shows everybody else is riding for 2nd place ribbon. yes, happened in the past. it wasn't slaughter, more like murder

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                                    • #19
                                      I think if you posted this thread up on the Racing forum you would get some very interesting answers.

                                      In real life, as a teacher, sometimes I send my kids in to win, period. Other times I send them in to get experience so that later down the road it will optimize their chances at winning. As an aside, in our area, high school football teams are not allowed to overwhelm the opposition on the scoreboard or they are penalized. In my opinion, when it reaches that point, give the b-list players time on the field to work on competing with their skills. It develops the team better that way for another day.
                                      "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits." Albert Einstein

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                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by dogchushu View Post
                                        I think it's different with team sports. If your team is slaughtering the other guys, you put in players who normally sit on the bench, try new plays you haven't perfected yet, etc. Those things help you in the long run and aren't "holding back".

                                        That's kind of hard to do with individual sports, including horse sports.
                                        Originally posted by Camstock View Post
                                        I agree with this.

                                        For individual sports there are always options. If little Suzy is waxing everybody on her circuit, time to move up to the next level, ride HC, bring on a young horse, or try a new discipline. Good coaching isn't just about winning, it is about expanding skill sets and helping people to become better in all aspects of the game (of life).
                                        I agree with the above. I think it's imperative that children start learning about good sportsmanship and that a coach of kids/teens hockey teams that continues to encourage his best players to slaughter another team in a game without using it as an opportunity to try second and third string players etc isn't doing his students any favors in life either.

                                        I certainly think far too many kids grow up thinking they should have everything handed to them and for that coaches shouldn't stop scoring to make the other team feel better about themselves, but in regards to the winning team, too few kids grow up with other essential skills for adulthood, like empathy, that can be learned in sports situations as well.

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