Writer Ashley Merryman’s article, "Losing is Good for You," published by The New York Times in 2013, challenged a popular trend. She argues against giving out trophies to children who participate in sports, and questions whether it is a good idea to give everyone on the team a trophy regardless of their accomplishments or athletic ability.
It’s a common practice, and in her article she mentions the American Youth Soccer Organization in Southern California, a group that gave trophies to every player just for being a member of the team. Merryman points out that children respond well when they are praised for their accomplishments, and will try harder; but on the other hand, those who know they will be rewarded regardless of their effort do not learn problem solving skills.
Merryman adds that those who struggle will not try harder because they know they will be rewarded anyway, and those who do well may feel cheated that they are not getting special recognition. She believes that the long-term effects are harmful because children will grow up thinking that they just have to show up and not put in any effort. Her conclusion is, “Our job is to help kids overcome setbacks, to help them see that progress over time is more important than a particular win or loss and to help them graciously congratulate the child who succeeded when they failed.”