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When To Turn The Scoreboard On

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This resource stems from a question submitted to the Ask PCA blog. Responses come from our experts including PCA Trainers, who lead live group workshops for coaches, parents, administrators and student-athletes.

"Does PCA have a position on whether or not it is best to keep score for 5-7-year-olds in basketball games?"

PCA Response By Ruben Nieves, PCA Director of Training
At PCA, we favor keeping score even for the 5-6-7 year old age groups. The fact that there is a “scoreboard” winner and loser is part of what makes youth sports such a great life-lessons laboratory.

The reality of the scoreboard helps us teach kids (and coaches and parents!) to focus on the ELM Tree of Mastery, Filling Emotional Tanks, and Honoring the Game, whether or not the competition is going in our favor.

We also recognize that there is an ongoing, reasonable debate about what is the appropriate age at which to “turn the scoreboard on.” Therefore, PCA does not have an “official position,” and we respect the decision for certain programs to not keep score at the youngest ages. However we also know from experience that kids and adults “are keeping score” even when score is not being kept.

Lastly, what is most important is the culture surrounding these 5-6-7 year old basketball games, as opposed to whether or not score is officially kept. If coaches and parents are mature and considerate in their conduct, 5-7 year olds can have an enjoyable, character-building experience no matter what the policy is regarding score. Conversely, if coaches and parents are not mature and considerate in their conduct, kids are likely to have a harmful experience no mater what the policy is regarding score.

Download a printable version of this resource, including any additional commentary from PCA, by clicking the PDF below. To read more questions and answers like this, or to submit your own question to the Ask PCA blog, click here.

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