This 24-minute documentary by Potential Pictures and Personal Sport Record dives into how youth sports’ focus on winning vs. losing can be detrimental to the development of the kid in sports & life, and to the sport itself.
Focusing on the result comes at the expense of focus on the process and having fun. If a kid is playing a sport (karting, soccer, anything), and has outside pressure to get a certain result, it can limit their long-term learning simply because they are afraid to experiment, and afraid to fail.
Ironically focusing on the result can have a negative impact on the short-term result. Looking at it from a karting perspective, the pressure can result in more “mechanical” driving, and becoming tense in difficult situations – leading to mistakes that cost positions. When a driver goes on track during a race they’ll almost always perform at their best if they are relaxed and able to drive as subconsciously as possible. It’s tough to be relaxed and get in the zone if there’s immense pressure to bring home a certain result.
I think an important distinction to make is that taking the focus away from the result, doesn’t mean that the focus is taken away from improving at the sport. The focus on personal performance remains. This in turn means that it doesn’t become less work to become good. If you’re enjoying the process, the “work” just doesn’t feel quite like work anymore.
In a sport such as karting where equipment has a huge impact on the result, measuring success and improvement solely based on the time-sheets can also be incredibly misleading. It’s very possible that the very best driver, having driven a perfect race, finishes a race in 10th place. Equally important or perhaps even more so is that “your” driver may have won the race after a mediocre performance but had a significant equipment advantage.
Some amazing resources from the creators of the video are available at the documentary’s home page:
Scroll down the page for simple pdf resources for parents, athletes, coaches, educators, and sports organizations.