Trophies for Participation Need to be Cut Out of Children’s Sports

In my Sixth Grade language arts class, we learned about persuasive essays. My essay is about the importance of banning trophies for participation in children’s sports.

In many American sports, all of the children receive trophies for participation whether they win or lose, which can cause the awarded children to believe that they are amazing at that sport. When the child moves on to competitive sports, they will learn that they are actually not amazing at that sport, which will make them feel bad. By handing out trophies for participation, children get a false sense of accomplishment and their self-esteem will end up deflating. Moreover, by not handing out trophies for participation, kids will work harder and strive to be better in that sport. Therefore, trophies for participation in children’s sports need to be eliminated.

To start off, when a child is handed a trophy, they generally feel that they have accomplished something to earn that reward. However, when a trophy for participation is awarded, the only thing that the trophy stands for is that the child went to their sports games and played in them. They don’t stand for the amount of skill that the team played with. Every child is handed a participation trophy, even if their team lost the game. This causes them to develop a false sense of accomplishment. That false sense of accomplishment will end up hurting them. A child can tell all of their peers that they did a phenomenal job at their sports game that weekend because they got a trophy. Any one of their peers can tell them that, in actuality, they did a terrible job, which will make the child feel bad. According to Roxanne Jones from CNN, a study showed that children that are overrated by their parents have a higher chance of establishing characteristics like superiority and feeling that they are obligated to receive awards for all of their actions. By disposing of trophies for participation in sports, children won’t develop a false sense of accomplishment and won’t establish self-serving characteristics.

Secondly, Whit Honea said that trophies for participation are not handed out to say that everybody won, but are handed out to show that each child tried hard when they played and to have a memento to show this (Wallace). However, many kids only do a sport to get the trophy. Also, many people say that when all of the players are awarded trophies, it boosts the children’s self-esteem; although, it does quite the opposite. When a child finds out that their team lost, they are upset and their self-esteem deflates. Jim Nance said that handing out participation trophies “does not teach kids about the real world, and promotes a warped sense of their own self-importance (O’Sullivan).” Instead of bestowing upon all of the children trophies for participation, the losing team’s coach needs to give their team a pep-talk, while the winning team is granted their trophies. This way, whether they won or lost, every child walks away feeling proud of the way they played.

Lastly, ousting trophies for participation will motivate the kids that lost their game to work harder to help their team win the next game. If trophies are handed out every game to every team, the players on the teams that lost won’t have the incentive to work towards their goal of winning. By only awarding trophies to the teams that win, all of the kids will work harder to strive to be better. The winning teams will work harder to maintain their winning streak, and the losing teams will work harder to achieve a winning streak. Roxanne Jones wrote in an article on CNN that stated, “the biggest lesson sports teaches us is how to face defeat and still return another day to try and improve your game until one day you can put yourself and your team in a position to win.” Doing away with trophies for participation will increase the effort of the children while playing a sport, and it will push them to work harder and strive to be better.

To sum it all up, there are many reasons why we should eradicate trophies for participation. A few of those reasons include that trophies for participation give children a false sense of accomplishment, deflate their self-esteem, and by terminating them, kids will be more motivated to work harder to improve their game. Ultimately, trophies for participation need to be extracted from children’s sports in our society.





Works Cited


Jones, Roxanne. “Listen Kids, Not Everyone Is a Winner (Opinion).” Opinion, Cable

News Network, 18 Aug. 2015, Accessed 5 Apr.



O’Sullivan, John. “The Great Trophy Debate: Do We Need Participation Awards?”

Changing the Game Project, Changing the Game Project, 10 Sept. 2015,

n-awards/. Accessed 5 Apr. 2017.


Wallace, Kelly. “Debate: Does Sports Participation Deserve a Trophy?” Health, Cable

News Network, 18 Aug. 2015,

Accessed 5 Apr. 2017.