“Go, William, Go!” Our family was watching William play basketball. He had played on a previous team and his coach asked if he would like to play on a different team with himself as one of the coaches along with other kids who enjoyed playing basketball. I felt a little reserved in my heart. William is a great athlete and he definitely had the capability though I felt reserved about the level of competition. William is eight. My husband at times has mentioned the necessity for drive of competition. While I agree, sports are competitive and the objective is to win, my question becomes: how does it not become all about winning and the competition. I could see William in the game, regressing, taking himself out. Was it because me, as the primary person who interacts with him has discouraged him from competition in sports or is it not a desire within him to win? I love achievement! I love the gratification of winning. It is a great feeling. My wonder and thought, how does it (competition) stay at a healthy level where a child loves the game yet has that deep passion for capturing the win? Is it necessary to have winning become the focus of the game or are there other objectives that are just as important during a game? No doubt, there definitely is a need for competition in every part of life and particularly in sports. The goal is to win! In self-interest and to settle my conflicting feelings, I read some articles regarding competition and explored different viewpoints. My conclusion when it comes to sports and competition is this:
1) Encourage good sportsmanship.
2) Let your child know that they are not the win or loss.
3) They don’t have to be the best. They need to work on doing their best.
4) Learn to be a good loser.
5) Opportunity to build leadership skills.
Winning is fun, competing is fun. Helping William know that on a team, he doesn’t have to put pressure on himself to be the best or carry the team but to be a contributor to a successful team is the goal and a great achievement. Building tools such as leadership skills while working to meet a goal—the win–is a great success in itself. The answer to my self-reflected question, the focus of any sport is the win. Though yes, there are other objectives in addition to the win that are just as important.
Website Articles on Competition and Kids