So my kids are playing Basketball in addition to playing Hockey this year. My son is 10 and my daughter is nine. They are quite similar players in both sports. My son could take it or leave it, while my daughter is a spark plug and high energy in both sports.
The interesting thing is they do not keep score in Basketball for both of their age groups. Even more interesting, this has had very little impact on my daughter, she is still the high energy spark-plug she has always been. My son, on the other hand has been de-motivated. He certainly is less motivated to give his best without the possibility of ‘winning’ the game. His behavior is not greatly different, but I certainly noticed it enough to have a conversation with him.
I thought it was quite interesting to note how a system change affected my son more as he was extrinsically motivated while my daughter was affected less since she was intrinsically motivated. She just loves the game and competing, no matter if someone wins or not.
The big change though was how the behavior of parents changed. Totally gone was the aggressive behavior of yelling at their children and the referees. I even caught myself almost challenging a call and then not following through at it would not affect the outcome. Without keeping score, the outcome is totally about being kids enjoyment and helping the kids to get better.
I’m not sure if the model would ever translate to Hockey as goal scoring is much less frequent in Hockey. Because you score 6 times in an average Hockey game versus 90 times in a typical Basketball game, the focus on scoring becomes much more intense.
It is interesting to see how a small change in a system affected the parents behavior so radically.
Something to keep in mind as we set up systems at work.