There has been a lot of debate about whether playing competitive sports is positive or negative for young children.
Is competition good for the development of your child?
Why should kids compete against each other?
Will playing competitive sports help them succeed as adults?
These are all very important and valid questions, but it’s how children and their parents approach competitive sports that will determine the benefits or drawbacks experienced by each individual child.
By putting too much focus on the competitive aspects, such as always needing to win, being the best player in the team and being critical of mistakes, then it can become toxic to a child’s development.
But when approached with the right attitude and focusing on the many positive aspects of competitive sports it can have many benefits for children.
Here are some of the main reasons why experiencing competitive sports is good for young children:
Competition Helps Kids Develop Their Skills And Performance More Rapidly
By competing against others, especially others that are more developed than us, we are forced to improve and learn great lessons by playing against stronger opponents. Also, when there is a match, competition, or prize to strive for, we are more motivated to train harder in order to be successful.
Kids Learn Not To Fear Competition
Fear of competition or failing can paralyse kids (and adults), stopping them from participating in many experiences life has to offer. When they realise that competition in the sporting arena is not as scary as they thought, this new-found courage is often carried over to other areas of their life.
Competition Teaches Kids To Try Their Best
When score is being kept, we are more motivated to give our best effort in order to win. And when we lose we are better able to discover what we need to improve in order get a better results next time.
Competition Teaches Kids To handle Pressure
Whether we like it or not there are times in life when we will all be under some form of pressure. Personal, career, education, social etc. Competition helps us learn to perform under pressure and keep our nerves when we are pushed outside our comfort zone.
Competition Helps Kids To Handle Defeat Gracefully
Learning how accept defeat or situations that do not go exactly as you’d hoped is a valuable characteristic that children will develop through competitive sport. Learning that losing is a simple part of life and that it helps us to grow when we are young helps us handle the ups and downs of life as we grow older.
Competition Teaches Kids How To Set And Achieve Goals
There are many areas of life where kids can learn how to set and achieve goals. But when goal setting is done in a competitive sporting environment it often increases accountability and motivation by having clear deadlines, scorecards and regular progress checks.
Competition Improves Risk Management
Entering the competitive sporting arena comes with many risks that can seem daunting to a young child. As they learn to approach and overcome these risks and see the potential rewards they become better at weighing up more important risky situations that they will encounter in life.
Competition Is Enjoyable
Playing sport as a kid should always be focused around fun. Playing games and meeting new friends is one the best parts of being a kid, and competitive sport provides a safe and supportive environment for children to get fit and have fun.
Competition Is Great For Building Self-Confidence
Developing a child’s self-confidence can only be done through achieving meaningful goals that they have worked hard for. It can’t simply be taught or handed to them. Knowing how to learn new talents and come back from adversity to eventually triumph are some of the best ways to build strong self-confidence, and this opportunity is given to kids on a weekly basis when they play competitive sports.
Competition Teaches Self Discipline
Discipline is a key skill in every competitive sport. Whether it is going to training regularly, playing within the rules or following the team’s game plan, it all requires self-discipline. Kids who play sport learn that to get the results they want they need to be committed to doing the small, simple disciplined actions that will help them reach theirs and their teams goals.
Competitive Sports Gets Kids Involved In the Community
When playing in competitive team sports there are numerous kids and adults working together with shared interests and shared goals. The friends and connections made through competitive sports can last a lifetime and provide opportunities that would never have been available otherwise.
Competition Can Give Kids The Opportunity To Travel
As your child develops their skills there will be many opportunities to travel to play in other towns, states or even overseas depending on the sport. If they decide to pursue a career as a professional athlete this can provide many more opportunities for travel and lifestyle benefits that many people aspire to.
Competition Can Improve your Child’s Academic Performance
Research studies have shown time and time again that children who play competitive sports often get better grades in school and are more likely to complete high school and tertiary studies.
Many of the benefits listed above can also be experienced through other means such as music, art and faith based activities, but lack in one key area we didn’t mention above. That is improving the health and fitness of your child, which has a long list of associated benefits in itself.
When approached with the right focus and spirit, competitive sports provides a great opportunity for growth, learning and fun that all kids should experience.
How To Get Your Child Involved In Competitive Sports
If you’re looking to ease your child into competitive sports then Australian Sports Camps provide 3 day sports camps for kids between the ages of 6 and 16. Introduce your child to their chosen sport at sports camps during school holidays in a fun, safe and enjoyable environment. Not only will your kids have a blast you’ll can affordably trial sports to see whether they enjoy it and whether they want to do more of it.
Join us at the best sports camps in the country with new camps available now.