‘How do you solve the problem of not having someone lose?” Porter says. “Because I’ve now, for four years, seen the downside of losing: 50% of the time the person who loses never comes back to play the game.” An interesting perspective from the developer of the game Draw Something.
Fast Company article (click here)
Club Volleyball is popular because tournament structures are set up to feel as if teams aren’t losers at the end. Even a team that finished 25th (of 100+ teams) is often tied with a number of other teams, but they finished by “winning their division” with a “bronze medal”. It is actually an ingenuous formula set-up to entice teams teams and players to come back to the game over time. Great for volleyball and a strategy that needs to be built upon to make our game continue to grow.
I presented the issue to John Kessel, here is his response:
The format, developed by Dave Epperson with lots of input from coaches, myself included – was set up in no small way to reduce seeding problems for a possible 40 RVA event, in true format you keep your seed even if you lose games or by points, to encourage coaches to play more subs. I know this, from being there for decades, that the character division, the last group of any age division, is a more exciting match than the championship finals. I also know, from testing, that when we did extended double elimination to truly rank from 1-64, coaches even forfeited rather than play off for 48th, or 62nd place.
So it’s obviously all Dave and Kessel’s fault. Kidding.
The paradox, since everyone feels like a winner, is today’s sports culture responsible for not developing “genuine” winners? Is it subliminally teaching that mediocrity is winning? Is it teaching youth that what they are doing is “good enough”?
Obviously hypothetical questions from a coach that coaches in a work environment in which winning our conference championship (winning that bronze medal) is success. But the deeper thought process is how do we develop kids that genuinely understand the difference between real winning and losing?