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The purpose of Pointe Coupee Parks & Recreation Youth Sports is to provide the children of the Pointe Coupee Parish quality instructional athletic programs that promote teamwork, build self-esteem, and increase skill knowledge in safe, non-threatening environments.


What does "FUN" mean in youth sports?


What Does ‘Fun’ Mean in Youth Sports?

All Little League baseball coaches are supposed to emphasize the “Three Fs” of Fun, Fitness, and Fundamentals. As I’ve discovered over the last few years of coaching, however, the definition of “fun” is open to wide interpretation. On one extreme, you have those who believe that youth baseball should be like school recess, a time for kids to run around outside, lightly supervised, while they play games. On the other extreme, you have those who find “fun” only when the last out is recorded in a game in which their team is victorious. As with most things, the truth lies somewhere in between, in finding the right balance between play and the development of athletic skills.

We’ve been debating this balance within our Little League’s Board of Directors over the last few years. It’s easy to find the balance with T-Ball. We don’t keep score and everyone plays. T-Ball is all about teaching the rules of the game and trying to impart an enthusiam for team sports and a love, in particular, for baseball.

It’s trickier in the upper divisions. By “coach pitch,” for 7- and 8-year olds, the kids are aware of the score, even when it’s not emphasized. They can see the differences in skills between the best players and themselves. They grin when they get on base, and they’re disappointed when they’re sent back to the dugout. Kids in the “Majors” and “Minors” Divisions, ages 9-12, are in competitive games in which the best players are selected for “All-Stars” and the best teams move into tournament play.

In just a few short years, the kids move from an upbeat organized play environment, in T-Ball, into competitive leagues in which the best teams move into the nationally televised little league world series. Making youth sports “fun” means something different at each point along that wide spectrum.

I say all this as a bit of background for a quote I read last night that I thought was worth sharing. It’s from Dusty Baker’s book, you can teach hitting, which I was reading in preparation for the season.

“[B]aseball is only a game and is meant to be fun, but at the same time it’s important to define what ‘fun’ means in this competitive sport. For most players and coaches, true fun in baseball lies in working hard, improving one’s game, and playing with others as a well-coordinated team. Having a winless season isn’t fun. Trying to convince your team otherwise is not being honest with yourself or your players. Working hard toward the goal of improving one’s skills, and then achieving that goal whether the team wins every game or not, is not only enormously satisfying, but makes the ‘work’ of team practice seem like ‘play.’

Sometimes ‘fun’ is confused with ‘no effort.’ It’s often a challenge to ensure that players have fun and work hard at the same time. But in order to truly enjoy the game and have the opportunity to improve, players need direction and discipline, including a schedule of well-run, organized practices. Without these, players won’t be able to focus and concentrate on their goals and play well. When players are motivated to devote their time and energy in organized practice, they will be able to perform well both individually and as a team.”

I like that quote quite a bit.

 Coaching Philosophy by Bret Fausett