You may have wondered whether your children playing competitive sports from a young age is good for their development or if it will help your child succeed as an adult. However, it can also be your approach to competitive sports that will determine the benefits or drawbacks experienced by your child. If you put too much focus on the competitive aspects, such as always needing to win or being critical of their mistakes, this can dampen their spirits and discourage them from reaching their potential. Instead, here are some of the many positive aspects of playing competitive sports and the benefits it can have for your children.
Goal Setting & Goal Management Skills
The effect of setting and achieving challenging goals can lead to your children’s success as they then work towards achieving them. These goals will look different to each student based on their level of ability, confidence and past experience. Actively working towards their own personal goal shows they’re committed to the sport or activity, helps expand their view of what they think they can achieve and allows them to develop confidence as they progress.
Goal setting helps children realise that accomplishment doesn’t always mean winning, enabling them to develop a growth mindset to see that there is success in learning and improving. These skills assist in alleviating fear of failure and can be transferred to all areas of school and daily life.
Competition has long been recognised to motivate individuals to perform at their best and build a habit of commitment. When students challenge themselves to perform to a higher standard than what is required, they may push themselves to train harder and remain focused on game day. In the process they also learn discipline, whether that’s attending training regularly or following the team’s game plan.
As a supporter, you can make positive connections with your children’s effort rather than the overall result. You can try explaining to your young athlete that they can learn inspiring lessons from playing against stronger opponents and how the best players, like Olympians, practice the most and work the hardest.
Dealing With Emotions
Competitions provide a safe and supportive environment for children to experience failure. They learn that it is a natural part of life and necessary for making progress in any endeavor, developing resilience, self-esteem and grit along the way.
Sports also gives young athletes the opportunity to cope with feelings of pride or disappointment and to learn to process them in healthy ways. By modeling good sportsmanship, children learn to congratulate winners and graciously accept losses. As a team, these shared emotions and experiences can build loyalty and trust as the emotions are felt together.
Competition can be fun
The Associated Schools is known for its high quality level of competition, and we encourage all our players to do their best and support those on a pathway to elite sport. It’s also important to us that everyone gets a chance to play and feels welcome, regardless of ability or experience – it’s not always about winning or the end score. We also put a strong focus on the enjoyment and passion that sport brings, physical exercise and learning new skills, socialising and working together.
We strive to put an emphasis on developing players at all levels and to ensure that children feel a sense of belonging when they’re part of a team. Working together is one of the most effective ways to grow camaraderie and friendship and we have built a strong community of people who have similar interests, values and goals. The friendships and connections developed through TAS competitive sports can last a lifetime.