Competitive sports – there are those who believe it’s ‘the taking part’ that matters, and there’s those who like to win at all costs. The real value of competitive sport lies somewhere in the middle.
So, it’s important to not only teach kids the importance of taking part but how to be gracious in both defeat and victory – no one likes a sore loser or an arrogant winner.
Kids and competitive sports
From the moment they take their first steps, kids are eager to run, jump and play, and taking part in competitive sports is the perfect way to help kids put all their energy to good use.
Competitive sports can help steer kids away from other, more sedentary activities, such as video gaming. It’ll also teach them important life lessons such as fair play, the importance of never giving up, and how to accept defeat.
Participation in sports such as football, netball, rugby and basketball can teach invaluable lessons on how to be a team player.
How to compete fairly
Competing with others is something that happens naturally throughout our entire lives (job interviews, school, university etc.), so getting kids involved in sports from an early age can help educate them on the importance of competing fairly.
Taking part in competitive sports teaches children how important it is to play within the rules, and although “giving it your all” may not guarantee success, it certainly gives you a better chance of achieving it.
These lessons can be learned in any type of competitive situation, from a game of tug of war to an all-important cup final.
Not everyone is cut out for traditional team games, though, so some might find it more worthwhile partaking in activities like orienteering and paintball – activities that have a competitive edge but require a completely different approach and skill set to things like football and tennis.
Improving mental and physical health
Improving physical health and wellbeing is one of the most obvious benefits of taking part in competitive sport, and once children are locked into an activity they enjoy, this should stay with them for life, which will also ensure they maintain a fit and healthy lifestyle.
As we grow older, we begin to appreciate the importance of having a well-balanced diet to keep ourselves in peak condition, which is much easier to do if you’re simultaneously exercising to boost your mental well-being and self-esteem.
Another valuable takeaway from competitive sports is experiencing defeat – not only does it show you that no-one can win all the time, but losing as part of a team can cement the team ethic and the importance of everyone trying their hardest at all times.
Although non-competitive games can be a great introduction to a number of sports and activities, the added edge offered by a competitive setting teaches not only invaluable lessons that can be applied in all aspects of life, but can be a vital component in keeping people locked into their chosen sport.
At what age do you think children should take part in competitive sport? Is it the winning or the taking part that matters most? I’d love to know your thoughts on this one
“This is a collaborative post”