Disadvantages of Sports for Kids and How to Bring Back the FUN!!

Disadvantages of Sports for Kids and How to Bring Back the FUN!!


– Did you know that some parents hold their children back a year in school so they’re the biggest
kids in their class, just so that they can do better at sports? It’s called redshirting. One of my friends coaches
his daughter’s soccer team, and he told us proudly in
the last game of the season, he benched his daughter and
told her not to participate in the game because, to his
words, she sucks at soccer. He preferred his daughter
not play the game at all just to give the team a
real chance at winning. Or another friend who asked,
“How should I encourage “my toddler to be right-or left handed “based on what’s best for baseball? “He seems to be showing an interest, “and I wanna make sure I
develop his physical body “in the right way for the sport.” At least in the USA, it seems
that all of the school pride, and often the school budget,
goes towards organized sports. Not the arts or the sciences, or developing your emotional health. Research suggests there
are quite a few issues with putting an emphasis
on competitive sports as our children grow and develop. Competitive sports always
pit one person or team against another, creating an
artificial win-lose situation that doesn’t mirror the real world, or at least not the real
world that we want to create. What does it take to be a winner? What do you gain? What do you lose? Are our children happy and
enjoying it and having fun? Or are they paying a very steep price in order to perform in these games? We know for a fact that many times, little children’s small bodies
are pushed way too hard. We are pushing them too far emotionally with such an emphasis on
achievement and performance. If children learn that
winning is what’s important, they often learn that the
ends justify the means. If a child is so bent on winning, they may not want to include a child who’s weaker at the game,
or a child with a handicap, or a child who’s younger than them, because it might impede
their chances of winning. When we teach them that
winning is what’s important, they might learn to trample other people, and even trample their own feelings. We teach them that
there are clear problems for losers in competitive sports, but there is equal problems for winners. It teaches them that their value and their inherent worth
lies in external accolades. Just ask any athlete who was injured and now can’t play their game. Once they’ve lost their sport, they might feel that they’re
losing their identity. In a competitive world, inclusivity and collaboration suffer. And at the end of the
day, everybody loses. So what do we do? How do we solve for this if competition is not healthy for us? Well, we don’t want
the losers to feel bad, so everybody wins. But that’s not the solution either. The emphasis is still on
the trophy, the accolade, the score, the number in the bank. We wanna take the emphasis
away from the winning, and if you refer back to my
video, “All About Rewards” you’ll remember that actually
rewards impede achievement. When children play for the fun of the game in their own intrinsic motivation, they’re actually more likely
to achieve even higher. The solution isn’t
swinging from one polarity where everybody loses and one person wins, to the other polarity
where everybody wins. The solution is taking the emphasis off of winning altogether, bringing it back to personal
growth, to collaboration, and back onto the joy of the game. Think back to when we were kids. It was more about pickup
games than organized sport. A few kids getting together
and kicking around a ball, making up their own rules,
and including whoever happened to be there and learning to play together, and negotiate our own
rules and figure things out when the going got tough. In a pickup game,
children are free to play or to leave the game if
they don’t like the way the other kids are playing. They’re free to join or not, and that is the real beauty in sports, is learning to play a
game with other people for the fun and joy of it, and negotiate all those sticky spots around fairness and rule following. An organized sport, when it’s
adult lead, it may not be fun. The kid may not wanna
play, may not enjoy it, and yet they’re still
being pushed to perform. We wanna take the focus
on to the fun of the game and to improving our own skills, rather than competing and
beating the other guy. So how can we do that? Here are three ways for you. Number one, offer choice. If you are forced to play a game, then we shouldn’t really
call it playing at all. Play is something that you choose to do. Offer them the choice
of when and how often and how hard they wanna go at that sport. Make it theirs, make it belong to them. Try and find a sport
and a teacher or coach who doesn’t emphasize competition. Try and make sure that the teacher isn’t going to push their
little body too hard, or undermine their self image, self confidence and self esteem. Make sure they’re doing it
because it’s an enjoyable thing, and practicing and pushing
themselves into the next level is fun and challenging. Not because you set the challenge, but because they feel called to the task. Number two, focus on self
improvement, not on competition. Take all of the emphasis
off of beating the other guy and put all of the emphasis
back on to effort, hard work, and up leveling ourselves. Rather than asking, did you
beat better than the other guy, ask, did you beat better
than yourself last time. Look more at how we can elevate ourselves and improve our skills, rather than beating down someone else’s. Number three, support
having fun and being kind. Rather than placing our
emphasis on winning or losing let’s talk about having fun, being kind and including others. One of the things I love
about multi-age groups is that kids naturally
handicap themselves, in order to level the playing field. Older kids can mentor
and teach younger kids how to play the game. And younger kids can slow down older kids and even get them to up level their skills as they learn to teach another and to try it out with a slower pace in order to keep up with a little child. In multi-age groups, there
is much less competition. When you look at all eight year old boys, then you’re gonna heighten the sense of competition between them because all the other
factors are the same. When we say we’re all
just playing for the game, and we can all play to our strengths, we’re not comparing apples to apples. There’s much less competition and much less stress in the game. And here’s the other
beautiful thing about that. It really encourages
kindness, and inclusivity. Now, I know what you might be thinking, that competition is important because that’s how the world works, right? In a capitalist environment, we improve our business offerings and our customer service
through competition. And that’s true. A healthy sense of competition pushes us. When we think that competition is the only driver for excellence, we miss out on another excellent driver, which is collaboration. In my own business, I see no competitors, but only endless potential collaborators. And I know that’s true for so many other businesses out there. When in our culture, we mute the extreme emphasis
on competition and winning, we can make space for collaboration. And we can learn to
create win-win solutions, where you played great,
and I played great. Where you had fun, and I had fun. And it’s not about me beating you. Isn’t that the type of world you’d like to create with our children? I know it is for me. If we can just lower the
volume on competition and up the volume on collaboration
in any realm in life, inclusivity, diversity
and just fun will thrive. Hey, I’d love to hear your
experience with winning and losing at sports. Did you play any sports? Why or why not? Let me know in the comments on this post over at theparentingjunkie.com/blog. I read them, I answer everyone and I would love to hear
your story there too. If you liked this video, I would love it if you
hit that like button. It helps it become more
discoverable for other parents. You can also share it out
on Facebook, grab the URL, well text message it to a friend you think might find it helpful. Just a quick reminder that you
can find The Parenting Junkie on your favorite podcast player as well. We go a little bit deeper
into the mindset stuff there. So make sure to subscribe
to The Parenting Junkie Show wherever you get your podcasts. Keep on loving parenting
and parenting from love.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *