Medals Are Not A Measure Of Youth Sports Success

Don’t measure your success as a youth sports coach in medals . . .

OR trophies, OR titles, OR premierships, or whatever is relevant in your particular sport.

Doing so will lead you down the wrong path with HOW and WHAT you coach.

Youth coaches who focus primarily on medals as their measure of success are doing the kids a disservice as their coaching will be flawed. Their coaching will be short-sighted and possibly contain content that is inappropriate for the development stage of the athletes.

Using medals to measure success is doing a disservice to the kids.

Focusing on medals will also send the wrong message to the kids. The kids will be influenced by the coach’s lead. If the coach’s main focus is on wins and medals and trophies, the kids may start to believe that those are what are important.

But it is well-known that these external rewards don’t sustain motivation. A love of sport does. Therefore we need to teach kids to love the sport more than the medals. We start doing this by “walking the talk” ourselves.

Teach kids to love the sport more than the medals.

Finally, I don’t believe that winning, by itself, is necessarily a sign of good youth sports coaching. There is no skill involved in training a kid “into the ground” just to get a grab at a medal. Also, coaches can’t take a lot of credit if the “winning” kid that they coach is simply bigger and stronger than others, which is a common factor in competitive youth sports “success”.

Winning is not necessarily a sign of good youth sports coaching.

Therefore, coaches of young athletes should measure their success in other ways.

I believe that the best indicator of grass roots coaching success is that the kids keep coming back.

What do you think?

Do you agree? I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Let me know by leaving a reply/comment or by using the below contact details.

Further reading


How To Help Kids Love the Sport More Than the Medals

Early Sporting Success: Keep It In Perspective

CYA Membership Email

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20150614_154020-1Darren Wensor is a sports development professional, coach educator, specialist coach of young athletes and founder of the blog Learn more about him here and connect with him on TwitterFacebookLinkedin, Anchor or via email.

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2 thoughts on “Medals Are Not A Measure Of Youth Sports Success

  1. Natalie Hood says:

    Absolutely agree – and I have a daughter who wins the medals all the time because of her height. 5’9” at age 11. She is a skilled athlete as well but the camaraderie of her chosen sports is what keeps her coming back. Not all the parents of the athletes I coach understand this though.


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