Handling winning and losing in youth playoff games in house leagues

Winning and losing graciously; that should be the goal of every adult coaching in a youth league. If coaches place too much emphasis on the results of playoff games, it can cause damages in players' confidence as they proceed in their baseball careers if they fail in clutch situations or their team loses. Some of them eventually quit playing because of the pressure initiated by the adult coaches guided by their desire to win.

It is imperative that coaches stress sportsmanship and playing hard and smart, and applaud players' effort no matter what the outcome. They should place no more importance on playoff games and continually concentrate on teaching baseball strategies and situations, execution, and skill development.

It is a hard task because people that watch kids' games want their sides to win, but if it is established in the preseason that winning is a byproduct of good play, then the coaches will have an easier time conveying that to the players and to the adults who think that winning and losing are the be-all end-all.

With losing, youth players get upset with losses for a variety of reasons. A majority of players are embarrassed because their friends or players on the other teams will make fun of them, or they feel like they let down their parents, relatives or even the coaches.

As stated before, coaches must stress that the goals of the team and the league is learning baseball strategies, executing the strategies, improving individual skills, teamwork, and competing and playing as hard as possible. If this is emphasized when practice starts, the results can be played down as the season progresses because you have established a learning and development philosophy.

Difficult? Yes, because parents can be unreasonable. Impossible? No, if you stick to the program.