SportStars Magazine

You play the game to win- at least that’s what most people think, right?

play the game to win

Winning Isn’t Everything. Wait. What?

What I have learned over many years as the founder of the National Academy of Athletics, as an adult who plays sports, a father of two kids who play sports and a child who grew up playing sports, is that it is actually more important to learn to compete then it is to win.

As John Wooden taught me, be inspired to compete against yourself and to be better every day is the real challenge.

I am not trying to say that winning is not important. I just think we have to keep it in perspective. In fact, in youth sports, I actually believe that losing is just as important as winning. I found that there isn’t a much better life skill teaching tool then playing on a youth sports team. Players learn to find out more about themselves.

They get to develop character, develop skills, and develop confidence.

Learn teamwork and many other important skills. 

Skills that will help them to be successful both on and off the court or field as they navigate through life.

Play The Game To Win:

Now that I’ve said all that, I want you take a look at Loyola Chicago Men’s basketball team, the Ramblers. In addition, the basketball team that was seated number 11. Furthermore, given very little chance to win is in the final four in the NCAA basketball tournament this year!

If they were not winning, we would not know about the wonderful relationship between the two boys, Ben Richardson and Clayton Custer, who started playing together in third grade.

We would not know about their friendship, about being roommates and pushing each other to be better basketball players. Along with being better students and be able to share the joy of their story.

If they had been knocked off in the first round, we would never know this amazing story.

Striving to win is extremely important, I call that competing! Also, if we can teach our young people to compete, in the classroom and on the sports field of play, they will not only learn to deal with loss, but I truly believe they will understand the importance of competing.

As we sign our kids up for youth sports each year, as do another 42 million American parents, I suggest that we keep this thing in perspective; trying to understand why it is that our child wants to play and why is that we, the parents, want them to play.

At the end of the day, if we can help our kids find their passion, and learn to compete, yet learn to lose with dignity — and learn to get back up and compete again, then in my book, we have created winners no matter the outcome.


Aaron Locks, Founder and CEO

Post by Aaron Locks. National Academy of Athletics. Photo

See Our “Best Camps, Clinics & Combines Report” Including

How To Choose the Ideal Camp by Aaron Locks, here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

4 × five =