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.

Children and Competitive Sports (Part I)

If your child shows an interest in youth sports, the question will come up: Is it time to sign up for a competitive sports team? The answer differs based on the child. Some are more suitable for the pressure that competition brings. Think about these dynamics as you make your decision.

Is Your Child Old Enough for Competitive Sports?

Specialists in child development and youth sports agree: Children aren’t ready for competition until they are at least eight. Before that, they can’t deal the stresses of losing, winning, as well as being gaged and judged on their performance. For kids under 8, sports should be about having fun, laying the groundwork for good sportsmanship, physical activity, and learning new skills.

This doesn’t mean that all children will be prepared for competitive sports when they turn 8. For many children, it’s not until around 10 that they can grasp some of the distinctions that goes with competition. It’s hard to realize that there are times you’ll lose even when you try your best.

Developmentally, children playing competitively need to have enough self-discipline and an excellent attention span. They must be mature enough to listen to and respect the coach, not to mention the ethics of group instruction. If your child is real passionate about soccer but doesn’t have the tolerance to do practice drills over and over, she or he may not be ready to be a part of a competitive team.

Is Your Child Skilled Enough?

Passion doesn’t usually equal skill. Your child may adore baseball, but end up on the bench if he joins a team that’s too progressive for him. Competitive sports teams usually put more importance on winning, which means less gifted athletes don’t typically get lots of playing time.

My Son is a Ballet Dancer! Deal With It!

My son, 4, has been laughed at by grown men, called a sissy and told he’s not a real boy. Why? Because he’s taking ballet lessons.

Every weekend, he puts on his ballet shoes, leotards, and lines up with the girls to

The male dancer brings a lot of power to a performance.

improve his point. He loves it and as long as he loves it I’ll aggressively defend his right to ballet.

So what’s our issue with men in tights?

My friend Joe feels ballet is just for girls. “It’s not a real sport, is it?” he told me. “Boys should be playing football, baseball, or basketball.”

Okay, boys can play ball sports. I just don’t see that the activities are equally exclusive. If Jacob wants to take basketball lessons then I’ll be pleased to support him. Just as I’ll support my daughters if they want to play football.

Far from being an assertive mother, it was Carson who wanted to try it out for himself after watching an ballet at the local theater. He was blown away by the male dancers’ muscles and the way they lifted the ladies.

There are many mothers I have heard from that have gotten negativity about their son’s choice of hobby. Some stupid dad in a school meeting once said something about it being gay. I didn’t even saying anything. You can’t quarrel with someone who thinks that children can be “turned’ gay.” I have no intention, like the other mothers, of taking Carson out of dance classes while he’s still loves it. I hope he’ll stay for many years.

Ballet can truly help boys with physical development, confidence, posture, discipline, and multi-tasking. A ballet teacher wrote me and said: “I have had boys in my classes who believe they are lacking in several areas of their lives. If I can offer them self-assurance through dance this is a good thing.”