The Boston Emeralds Basketball Program is a nonprofit, all girls developmental program that prepares girls for higher level basketball and life. There are many, too many coaches that overemphasize winning games often to the detriment of the young athlete. There is nothing wrong with winning and striving to win but coaches should strive to do this within certain parameters. All players should have the opportunity to play and develop. No one will grow by sitting on the bench. The starting five, although playing, miss out on many important lessons by not having their teammates play and potentially losing the game. We often learn more from hardships and “losing” than from winning. Winning is good but losing has a purpose. We either win or we learn. We never really lose.
“Something happens when girls play sports — they embody the experience of not just of winning, but the critical experience of losing. It’s that process of carrying on and clearing hurdles that really builds confidence. It’s an incredibly useful proving ground for business and leadership,”
Claire Shipman: TV Journalist and Author of The Confidence Code
Many girls who play youth basketball will likely not play in high school. According to research done by the National Alliance for Sports, 70% of children drop out of organized sports by the age of 13. Statistics from the NCAA website report that only 3.8% of high school players will go on to play in college at any division and only 0.9% plays professionally.
As parents why put so much time, effort, and money into having our children play sports? At the minimum it gets the kids exercising, playing and having fun. Regular exercise promotes a healthy lifestyle, improves mental health and cognitive skills, youth athletes are more likely to attend college and less likely to be sexually active and to use drugs. They develop friendships with other positive kids and have a good time doing it. Youth sports teach the young athlete to set goals, build confidence, self-esteem and leadership.
Ernst and Young research has shown that girls who have played sports excel and succeed in their careers. Out of 94% of young women who played sports roughly 50% held either management or executive positions. Important leadership skills developed by sport are: to see projects through completion, motivational skills, and team building skills. Employers see candidates with a sports background are thought to have the following traits: strong work ethic; team players; determined. (Ernst and Young, Making the Connection: women, sport and leadership).
“Sports teaches intangible leadership skills that can’t be taught in the classroom.”
Beth Brooke-Marciniak, Global Vice-Chair of Public policy at Ernst & Young
With our approach we aspire to change these stats. The level of play is irrelevant. We want them all to play and to continue playing to realize their potential on the court and in life.
Many coaches get caught up in the “win” of a game. We focus on the bigger picture, the overall development of the young player. Our focus is on all the players but particularly the 96.2% that will not play college basketball or any college sport for that matter. We define winning not just in a game but developing the skills necessary to succeed in life. Keeping these statistics in mind does it make sense to only focus on a few to win a game or to jeopardize a win by building and developing a team? Teamwork and that everyone contributes and is responsible to each other, putting in your best effort for your team and yourself is an important life lesson. A game win or loss will be quickly forgotten.
The lessons they learn through sports will enrich their life for the remainder of their life.
“People who work together will win, whether it be against complex football defenses, or the problems of modern society.”
American Football Coach Vince Lombardi