3 Ways to Help Your Kids Develop a Win-Win Mindset in Sports

“Haar gaye toh kya ho jayega?” I asked the nine-year-old boy.

“Agar mein haar gaya toh mujhe trophy nahi milegi,” said the boy with a gloomy expression on his face.

I sighed. I was conducting a personality development workshop for kids learning to play table tennis at Siri Fort Sports Complex, and was expecting the kids to be energized, motivated, and excited.

Instead, I was shocked to find that 16 out of 20 students at my workshop, felt pressured to learn the sport quickly and win, while all 20 of them were afraid of losing, and consequently, feeling disappointed.

When I probed them to share why they felt this way, they said that they wanted to win because their parents felt it was important for them to win, they wanted awards to show to their friends, they wanted to prove they are the best, etc. and as a result they put more pressure on themselves to win.

As a parent myself, I believe it’s essential to encourage your kids to be the best that they can be and to help them win. However, we as parents also need to stress on the fact that it’s okay for them to lose and to accept failure in sports (and life) as an opportunity to become more self-aware, learn, and improve. It’s also imperative that we teach our kids to enjoy playing the sport that they do so that they look forward to playing sports and not think of it as a pressure or burden.

Here are three ways by which we can teach our kids to develop a Win-Win Mindset while playing sports:

1. Teach kids to analyze their performance objectively

After every match that your child plays ask him to reflect on his performance and come up with answers regarding what he did well and what he can improve in his next match. This will ensure that your kid is developing a growth mindset towards problem-solving and seeking every opportunity (Win or Lose) to learn and grow.

2. Allow them to have time off

We have all heard everybody say that winners are disciplined, winners make sacrifices, and winners work harder than others. While these are wise words, it is also essential to let your kids have some time off to enjoy their social life. Just like work, for your child (especially if they are entering into puberty or high school) it’s important to have some sports-life balance, and you need to encourage them to take time off from sports, indulge in other hobbies, and spend time with friends and loved ones, and develop holistically so that they become more grounded and emotionally stable adults.

3. Celebrate results

It’s essential for you to help your child set realistic goals and to celebrate your child’s wins and results. If your child moves from a district to a state-level competition but doesn’t win it, you need to appreciate your child’s success. Similarly, if your child wins a competition, it’s important to celebrate those wins so that he feels motivated to do better and aims higher next time.