At this time when professional sports are demonstrating winning at all costs, it’s paramount that those of us working in Youth Sports have an even greater responsibility to balance the pursuit of victory and integrity with the games we play and athletes we coach.
Baseball (Houston Astros), Athletics (Nike Oregon Project) and even Rugby (Saracens UK) are currently dealing with professional teams, athletes and coaches where winning has overtaken the essence of what sport should be.
There are many people, in all levels of sports, who believe winning is the ONLY reason to compete. I strongly disagree.
Steel Sports Values
We encourage our athletes to be fiercely competitive. We strive to produce Leaders who pursue winning within the rules of the game, our culture and our Core Values of Teamwork, Respect, Integrity, and Commitment.
Any win that compromises these Core Values is not a victory. While it seems the professional level has lost sight of this in many cases, we are very proud that our Steel Sports athletes have demonstrated our culture this year.
Examples range from our U11 PA team deciding to allow an opponent to score a goal from a kick-off because a referee would not cancel out a goal they scored despite the opposing keeper being injured in the play, to an individual 9-year-old player in TX who explained to the referee that the opposing keeper stopped his shot from crossing the line despite the official initially awarding the goal, but then overturning his decision because of the players’ explanation. We then have a coach in NJ who explained to the ref that the goal they had scored should be chalked off because of a player being in an offside position (Video to the right).
Cheating and shortcuts in sports are indicators of a greater societal issue where winning has taken the place of a
commitment to the process of improvement with integrity and developing a growth mindset.
There are many other examples that it would be wise for some professional organizations and athletes to take note of.
These are the benefits that sports can teach young people. They lead to winning both on the field and winning in life at ALL levels.
By Steve Jones
Director Steel Sports Coaching System