The Scottish Football Association

Parent Tools to Redefine Winning

Redefine winning boy and parents

 Redefine Winning

Move the focus from the scoreboard to succeeding and winning through effort.


• Sustained effort to achieve set goals – encourage your child to work hard to achieve in whatever they do

• Don’t focus on results, focus your child to learn and improve to master skills and improve performance

• Mistakes happen – more important is to encourage your child to respond quickly to recover.


Parent Tools to Redefine Winning

Rewarding Effort

As a parent you are able to recognise when your child has performed well such as scoring a goal or making a good tackle and you should praise their effort. However, it is important to recognise the effort made regardless of whether they were successful or not. If your child dribbles past two defenders, then shoots the ball high and wide. At first he/she will be disappointed but by praising effort made to go past the defenders and get a shot should be rewarded with praise. By doing so, participants will feel valued and their confidence levels will be maintained, leading to an increased desire to try harder next time. It will also show the focus you place on working hard.

Dealing with mistakes

Your child will often worry about making mistakes. Mistakes are inevitable when working hard to learn new skills, so you must support your child to show resilience and encourage them to learn from the mistakes.

Mistake ‘rituals’ help young people bounce back and continue to concentrate on the rest of the game. Here are some examples of mistake rituals:

• “Clap it out” – A quick clap of the hands and move on to next play

• “Bounce Up” - Anytime a player finds themselves on the ground (tackled, tripped etc.) they immediately “bounce up” off the ground as quickly as they can.

• “Bad pass into good pass” – Get the ball back by closing down the man or getting back into position

Your child will often look in the direction of you when they have made a mistake so you can give a thumbs up or even a smile to help your child react positively to the mistake.


Ask the right Questions

What are normally the first two questions you ask when you speak to your child after a game? What was the score? Did you score? These two questions focus purely on the result and do not take into account any learning or improvement that you child may have achieved. Questions like “Did you have fun?” “Did you work hard?” “What did you learn?” will shift the focus from purely the result and get your child talking about their experiences. Win or lose the game these questions will help focus your child on working hard to improve with a smile on their face.


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