Beyond Winning

Beyond Winning: Smart Parenting in a Toxic Sports Environment

Beyond Winning: Smart Parenting in a Toxic Sports Environment

These days it seems everyone has a youth sports horror story—whether it’s about a tyrant coach obsessed with his team record that only plays the best kids on the team, or a parent who publicly berates his kid for not making a goal. But should it really only be all about winning? What about having fun, learning a sport, and developing athletic skills?

Beyond Winning with Whole Child Sports offers an alternative approach to teaching sports to kids. It deemphasizes short-term goals like winning and youth championships and discourages the introduction of adult-oriented, league-structured competition. Instead it emphasizes training techniques and coaching strategies aimed at improving core strength, balance, and creativity in aspiring athletes, using an age-appropriate four-stage timeline, based on a child’s physical, psychological, and neurological development.

Beyond Winning with Whole Child Sports provides frustrated parents with help in the form of advice and concrete solutions to common questions, and step-by-step instructions for helping young children develop athletic ability in an environment that’s less structured while encouraging athletic and personal growth. It also reveals how to avoid bullying, trash talk, and elitism.


Elite sports are all too often tarnished by a pervasive win-at-all-costs mentality. But every elite athlete starts as an innocent kid out there playing fun games. Beyond Winning provides common sense, practical guidance to all who value true sport and recognize this win-at-all costs youth sports culture victimizes our children. As parents of three kids playing sports, my wife and I will use this resource to do our best to ensure our kids learn positive lessons in life through sports.

—Travis Tygart, CEO of the United States Anti-Doping Agency

I would’ve loved to have Beyond Winning as a resource when my kids were younger. It’s loaded with ideas and practical advice. With this book in hand you’ll no longer struggle to come up with ways to encourage your kids to go outside and play. But I also love the practical approach to dealing with so many unfortunate circumstances which arise in youth sports today.

—Boomer Esiason, In-studio CBS analyst for The NFL Today and former NFL quarterback.

Playing at sports is a huge part of childhood. So why are most American kids getting turned off sport by the time they should be really leaping into it? This book takes what we all know – that sport has gone sour and stressful for many parents and kids – and delivers answers – clear ideas for how to guide your child and teenager towards happy physical activity right through their growing up and beyond.

Every dilemma you have ever faced seems to have been addressed, in concrete and specific ways, by people who know kids sport inside out, and want to bring it out of the dark place it has sunk into, and make it fun, exuberant, and strengthening once again.

—Steve Biddulph, Australian psychologist and author of Raising Boys, Manhood, and Raising Girls. He is largest selling author of child development books in the world with over four million copies sold.

At a time when – rightly or wrongly – youth sports have become a cultural crucible, so important to so many, it is imperative that our coaches are strong, ethical and empathetic. Reading this book as a both a sportswriter and youth sports coach, I lost track of how often I nodded in agreement about observations or proscriptions. If we’re serious about imbuing sanity and values into the burgeoning youth sports “universe,” I can think of no better to way start than by reading this book.

—L.J. Wertheim, Senior Writer with Sports Illustrated and co-author of Scorecasting: The Hidden Influences Behind How Sports are Played

We get what we tolerate. If we demand excellence from our youth organizations, we will get it. If we apply the wisdom we find in Beyond Winning, we have a better shot at making youth sports a more positive experience.

So, get involved! I did, just as my son and daughter were starting to play soccer nine years ago. I didn’t have any big plans back then to change the face of New York City soccer, but one thing sort of leads to another… as you will find out. In the end, nothing is more important than the lessons ALL our children can learn from playing on a team where they are encouraged to take risks, learn from their mistakes, accept differences, and persevere. Such experiences serve them their whole lives.

—Dana DiPrima, Commissioner, West Side Soccer League, NYC – the largest all-volunteer AYSO region in the United States with 4,000 players ages 5 to 18 and 6,000-plus parents.

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