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Effort or Results

This past weekend I was at the park for my daughter’s soccer game. As usual it was a full weekend of sports which made it somewhat harder to gear up for a U6 girls match, but at least I wasn’t coaching this team so for a change I got to just sit back, relax, and be a dad. While I love being with the kids, it was nice to watch the game from that perspective. Since my daughter is the youngest of three, with two older brothers, she tends to be a bit more aggressive than many of the other girls in the division. So she went out, pushed and shoved, got the ball, broke free and dribbled down the pitch for a goal. She did this five times during the twenty minutes the girls played. However, she also lazily stood around and watched as the other team scored goals that she could have prevented and decided it was too much effort to go after other opportunities that were available. She came off the field very happy that she had played such a “good game”, but she admitted that she really hadn’t come close to trying her hardest. That got me thinking about what lesson I wanted to teach her from that experience. Which is more important: effort or results?

Maximum Effort?

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Coach’s Corner, Continued

As we were walking to the car I talked to my daughter about effort. If you’ve been reading these newsletters then you know that I always emphasize dealing with what you can control: effort. You can’t control the results of any play or contest. So, from a personal perspective, it’s better to give a maximum effort that may not yield the results that you want, but you know that you’ve done everything possible to succeed. I told my daughter that I’d be happier if she did her best even if that meant that the team didn’t succeed and that she didn’t score any goals. More importantly, she should be happier with herself because she knows that she did her best which is all anybody could ever ask of her.

All the lessons of youth sports that we talk about, from teamwork to personal development, are the main reasons that most of the kids should be playing. As parents and coaches, sports are a vehicle that we use to help teach the value of hard work. We want the lessons of sports to become a model to help them carry out to the more important aspects of their life: school, personal relationships, and eventually, personal success. What could possibly be any more important for a kid to learn that how effort can make up for a lack of ability and allow them to still reach their goals? What if instead we find that sports teach kids that having great ability can make up for a lack of effort?

There are also times when people simply get lucky and succeed in life or business; they have the right friends, luck into a great job, or are presented with the right deal that turns into a fantastic opportunity. Baseball players get bloop hits that look like line drives the next day in the box score. A football cornerback may be completely out of position, slower than the receiver, or simply didn’t put out the effort to keep up, but still finds that the quarterback under threw the ball and they end up with a timely interception. All sports have an element of luck that can lead to outstanding results.

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Coach’s Corner, Continued

However, I would argue that luck is usually created by a combination of preparation and effort.

Winning the game and getting good results is certainly more important as kids progress through the system into high school sports and beyond. Sometimes, regardless of how it happens, it’s just important to win. The emphasis on results certainly tends to say that results are more important than effort. It was said that Dion Sanders didn’t like to tackle, which can be more effort and desire than skill, but he is considered one of the all-time great coverage cornerbacks. Winning and performance take on larger and larger degrees of importance in both sports and business as people mature, but that still isn’t the lesson that we need to teach to young children.

Especially when kids are younger, parents and coaches need to teach the benefits of hard work. While results will continue to take on more importance, the combination of hard work and determination is paramount to a person’s ultimate success. Certainly there will be times, especially in sports, when even hard work combined with talent, will not be enough to move to the next level and get the desired results. Yet, even in these cases, the lessons learned to put out maximum effort easily transfer to school, jobs and interpersonal relationships.

While kids are beginners the most important thing is that they have fun. If they enjoy playing they will want to continue and therefore it will be easier to teach aspects of life through sports. One of the main lessons we can teach is that it’s better to put forth your “best effort” regardless of the results achieved. This allows students to “master the academic material” rather than simply getting a good grade. It allows business people and employees to achieve far better results through a combination of knowledge, skill, luck and hard work than could ever be possible without the effort. Determination and effort allows relationships with spouses, kids and parents to flourish and be long lasting because everything worthwhile takes work.

When my daughter plays soccer this weekend you can be sure that she’ll have the message that she needs to put out her maximum effort and that doing her best is always more important than the results. We’ll see if she can hear the message.


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Trivia Test 

We’ve got great Trivia games for beginning to master SportsKids – try our “All-Star” Hockey Game and find the answers to these questions at the bottom.


1) Who scored the first NHL regular season goal in Boston Bruins history?

A)      Jimmy Herberts

B)      George Redding

C)      Carson Cooper

D)      Stan Jackson


2) Wayne Gretzky won eight straight Hart Trophies. Only one other player  has won an award eight straight times. Who was he?

A)     Maurice Richard

B)     Bobby Orr

C)     Jacques Plante

D)     Phil Esposito


3) What was “Boom Boom” Geoffrion’s real first name?

A)     Bernard

B)     George

C)     Guy

D)     Patrick


4) Which player set the record for the most fighting majors in one game?

A)      Dave “Tiger” Williams

B)      Tie Domi

C)      Rob Ray

D)      Eddie Shore 



There are trivia games in general sports, baseball, football, hockey, basketball and “Sports Math” in three different skill levels. Test your sports skills against kids around the world in the SportsKids Game Section.



Answers: (1) C  (2) B  (3) A  (4) D

Sports Poll 

1)  How often do you feel your kid gives their best effort?

All the time

Most of the time

Some of the time


2)  Which do you feel is more important for kids?


-  Results


3)  Which is your child happier with?




Last month’s Poll results: 

1)  Why do you feel most board members participate in youth sports?

Community Service (19.05%)

-   Benefit their family (19.05%)

-   Personal Gain (33.33%)

-   Help their friends (4.76%)

-   Other (23.81%)

2)  Have you ever been disappointed in a decision made by the board of your local league?

Yes (54.76%)

No (45.24%)


3)  Do you feel it would be beneficial for your local league to hire somebody as a professional to administer the program(s)?

Yes (64.29%)

No (35.71%)

Cast your vote on these and other sports polls at

Care to comment on this month's article or poll questions or results?

Please visit The SportsKids Newsletter Forum and have your say!