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Should my young athlete get a trophy just for participating?

This question is sometimes hotly debated within sports organizations as well as within families.

There is the school of though that if you haven't earned it you shouldn't get a trophy/medal:

  1. There aren't any participation trophy's in life, so don't expectations that they are owed something just for participating.
  2. If a sport keeps score then there are those that win and those that don't, participation trophy's don't reward the right goal.
  3. Participation trophy's diminish  the value of trophy's that are earned by the fastest, best, most accurate... name your measure. That gives a kid something to strive for.
  4. If you want to reward them for making every practice or attending every game, that great but awarding kids who don't making all the practices or games diminishes the effort put out by those that do.
Then there is the school of thought that a participation for everyone, regardless of effort is a good thing:
  1. It's worth a couple of dollars to give kids a big smile, and participation awards do not cause long term damage or build entitlement in kids. 
  2. Participation trophy's boost confidence and tells athletes that though they may not have won, they gave it a good effort.
  3. They give a kid a sense of accomplishment by participating in the sport. 
  4. It helps to build a child's self esteem.

Is it a good thing or something that should be avoided? Where do you land on this topic? 


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