When playing for “funsies” is a serious matter

Australian’s are competitive about sports. There’s no denying it. Sporting success is largely intertwined within our culture and even contributes to our overall feeling of self worth.

Australian Olympic Chief John Coates summed up our attitudes towards winning nicely with this sentiment, “It seems un-Australian to me to settle for something second best.” Source.

As our nation’s love of sports grows, more children are focusing on one sport at an early age — sometimes as young as 4 — and practising it every weekend year-round. To keep up, parents spend thousands of dollars for team memberships, personal training and even private sports schools in the hope of turning their children into high-calibre athletes or landing scholarships for them.

Burnout? You guessed it. 3 out of 4 kids now hate sports by the age of 13. Source.

When our motives are based on success, a setback or failure can be demoralising and saps a sense of competence. Conversely, when our kids are in it for what they can learn and to be with other people who also love the sport, winning and losing become less relevant. Source.

With weekend sport becoming increasingly competitive school sport is really the only opportunity to teach children the basis of good sportsmanship. It’s an opportunity for children to build on friendships, develop their skills and express themselves physically and emotionally without the added pressure of having to win.

For the sake of “funsies” lets fight to keep sport in our schools. Seriously.

 

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