Chris Krause Special Contributors

Why A Winning Attitude In Youth Sports Is More Important Than Winning

chris krause discussing how to talk to college coaches

The following is a post by our founder, Chris Krause, who is a regular contributor to this blog. Chris, who played football all four years at Vanderbilt University, founded NCSA Athletic Recruiting so no talented student-athlete would miss the opportunity to play their sport at the right school for them.

Attitude is everything. In my core, I believe this to be true for every facet of life. There are going to be tough times. There are going to be hurdles and road blocks, unexpected storms and disappointments. The most safe and positive way to learn invaluable failure-recovery skills? Play sports.

Sports teach us, in the best most motivating way possible, how to dust ourselves off, strategize, and get back in the game.

I reflect on the true power and correlation between what we learn on the field and how it affects so many parts of life – but really our happiness in life – in the below expert from my next book.

A winning attitude will take you far.

When I was in seventh grade, I played on a basketball team that was undefeated. We were on top of the world, a world we thought was owned by our seventh grade basketball team. No one could beat us. I vividly remember my parents telling me they wished we would lose a game. At the time, I did not understand.

Now I do.

Eventually, we lost a game, ending the season with a 39-1 record.

Over the course of my life as an athlete, I would go on to lose many, many more games. I learned that a team might practice and practice and practice…and still lose in the end. I learned that a seventh grade basketball team does not own the world. (Imagine that, right?)

I learned to take it one game at a time – that just as easily, a winning team can become a losing team. I also learned to respect my competitors, recognizing that regardless of a team’s record, every competitor has his strengths and weaknesses. No purer analogy for life’s victories and spills exists than this.

So it stands to reason that more important than whether your child wins a game is how your child plays the game.

In other words, does your child have a winning attitude?

At its core, a winning attitude can be defined by a person’s ability to recover from failure and his or her ability to encourage others to do the same. The skill requires a can-do attitude as well as benevolence toward self and others.

Perhaps Thomas Edison said it best. As the story goes, a reporter for the New York Times once asked him how it felt to have failed 700 times to invent the iridescent light.

“I have not failed 700 times,” Edison reportedly said, “I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 700 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work.”

Your children are going to lose. They are going to lose games, friends, job opportunities, girlfriends, or boyfriends. And regardless of whether the losses are due to their own failings or something out of their control, your children will be happier, better people is they learn to stand up after falling down. Sports naturally teach us how to do this.


Many of our scouts have come to NCSA Athletic Recruiting because of the lessons they learned from their sport: in high school, in college and in the recruiting process. And they’re happy to talk to you about your personal recruiting journey. The best way to get started is with a recruiting profile.

About the author
Laura Chmiel

Laura Chmiel is a marketing coordinator and a lead writer for NCSA Athletic Recruiting. As someone with a passion for athletics and education, she graduated from Indiana university with a B.S. in Elementary Education. After school, she gained first-hand experience helping student-athletes and their families get to college.