Why Kids Sports Leagues Should Keep Score

I’m a little perturbed at why many kid sports leagues have stopped keeping score during games. When I was a kid, we always kept score because it was part of the experience of the game.  So much emphasis is placed on every child participating and learning the fundamentals, which are both important, that I think teaching the importance of learning how to win or lose has fallen by the wayside.

In my 9 year old’s basketball league at the local rec center, they keep score, but reset the scoreboard after every period. The kids still add up their score every period and still know whether they won or lost. In my older kids’ baseball and softball games, they don’t keep score at all, but they usually come to me after the game and tell me the score. So why not keep score then? Why are we so terrified of it?

Keeping score teaches kids that they are not always going to win a game, and the proper way to react during and after the game. Learning how to play from behind and work together as a team are both important aspects of any sport to acquire at an early age.  It is equally as important to learn the right behavior to display when winning. If they never keep score, how will they learn?

The argument is commonly made that at an early age kids need to focus on learning the sport and fundamentals. This is all true, but score-keeping is part of the sport. I believe that kids need to enjoy learning and playing together as a team, but to take away the competition and scoring takes away from the fun, excitement and emotion we all want to experience in the sport.

Coaches and parents both should be held accountable to teach their kids how to keep score and how to behave when winning or losing. Kids watch MLB, NFL, NHL and NBA games so we know they are paying attention to how games are scored. They are also watching professional players’ attitudes and often repeat the behavior they see in the big leagues.

To take away an aspect of the sport so important as scoring is to take away from the full enjoyment of the games.  When sport leagues start ignoring how to keep score, eventually kids will not grow up learning about how to keep score, or how to behave on both sides of the spectrum.

Do you feel that kids’ sports should be free from the score board?  Post your comments below and let’s get a good debate going.

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6 comments

  1. Hear Hear! I so agree! When we let everyone win, it doesn’t at all teach kids how to behave in the real world, and, I think, instills a sense of entitlement in our kids. We absolutely need to go back to keeping score.

  2. I agree with you that we need to keep score, especially since our kids are doing it regardless. I think a healthy competition is part of our DNA. I know here in my town though, when we are teaching the young ones they don’t keep score because they do want to focus on teaching the kids the basics and I’m okay with that but it’s not the kids that get upset when they lose, it’s the parents. At least this is my experience with my 9 yr old when ever he plays sports. I have seen parents of pre-schoolers get so wound up over winning and losing that I wonder who is really playing the game, the kids or the parents? All in all though, it’s important to teach our children about winning and losing because it’s a part of life. We win some, we lose some but if we don’t teach them the skills to handle both, how are they going to function in the world? Great post! Visiting from #alittlebitofeverything

    1. Thank you! And I completely understand where you are coming from with not keeping score at the younger ages. At those ages you are just teaching them to familiarize themselves with the rules and sportsmanship (not that you don’t continue that at older ages though!) By the time they are old enough to understand that touching home plate means 1 run or shooting a hoop is 2 or 3 points, they are old enough to keep score themselves.

      1. Exactly! I know my son keeps score with his friends even when they are just playing but they also know how to have fun while enjoying a little friendly competition. It’s good for them:)

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