The Crosby Chronicles: Youth sports are not about winning

My oldest son played his final basketball game of the year last Thursday, then two days later he was at his first baseball practice. And so it goes when your kids play multiple sports.

Having both my boys play sports in Burbank over the years, from soccer to T-ball and so on, the one factor that determines whether or not the kids have a good experience or not is the head coach. 

My sons have been on playoff contending teams as well as teams that didn’t win a single game.  The team record had little to do with the overall feeling they had about playing.  If the coach was nurturing and fair, as well as acted more as a teacher than a drill sergeant, it was a good experience. If the coach played favorites, ensuring his and his assistant coaches’ children got choice positions and playing time, it was a bad experience.

This year I had a choice for my son’s baseball team: go with a coach with a winning record but an overbearing personality, or go with a coach who’s good with kids. I chose the latter.

The purpose of youth sports (pre-high school) is for children to learn a sport and learn how to be a good sport. It’s not about winning. Too many adults who work with young people forget this.

Brian Crosby is a teacher in the Glendale Unified School District and the author of Smart Kids, Bad Schools and The $100,000 Teacher. He can be reached at

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