Children and Competitive Sports (Part II)

Your Child Want to Play Competitive Sports?

Before you put some money down, be sure that your child’s heart is in it for real. Does she/he want to join a team just because their friends are on it? Or because their parents have been pressuring them into it? If your child wants to push themselves to the next level, great! But if he/she doesn’t, they still have the choice to enjoy their favored sport on a noncompetitive level.

Sports should be fun!

Also, think about whether team or individual competition is right for your child. This will mostly depend on your child’s personality. Some children flourish on team camaraderie. Others want more power over their own destiny. Some children discover being part of a team takes pressure off. Others are stressed about letting their teammates down.

Letting Your Child Compete for the Right Reasons

There’s a crucial distinction between competing to excel and competing to win. Competing to win denotes trying to outperform and dominate others, while competing to excel is about doing well and exceeding personal goals.

Athletes who compete to excel are still pushed to succeed. But their inspiration comes from within: “I want to be the best I can be” instead of “I want to crunch all those other competitors.” Competing to excel does take the importance off losing and winning. The focus shifts to using competition as a means of inspiring personal achievement. Competing to excel has been named “task-oriented competition.”

You can boost confidence and personal development in competitiveness by concentrating on skill-building and incremental improvements.

Praise your child when she/he accomplishes a personal best, even if she/he doesn’t win a race. Notice and comment when he/she makes a vital contribution to his team, even if the team doesn’t end up with a win that day.