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The Soccer Sidelines

131 EpisodesProduced by David DejewskiWebsite

Join Coach Dave on the sidelines as he brings you in on what’s going on behind the scenes and the stuff that really matters in youth sports. Understand the game, development, and ways you can support your young athlete at home!


#25 – Competition and Sportsmanship Through Youth Sports

Defining Competition in Youth SportsCompetition should be managed like a prescription drug. It's really great for creating certain chemistries, but there should be warnings on the label. Mis-use or overuse of competition can be bad for your health. In this article, we explore the concept of competition in youth sports and share some perspectives from both sides of an ongoing argument. Competition by itself is neither good nor bad. It is simply defined as the activity or condition of competing. It's how we frame competition and how we implement it that makes the difference between constructive competition vs destructive competition. As with all things, we have choices. Taken in moderation and in the proper context, a wide variety of the things we sample in life are healthy. Apples are good for us, but eating a dozen in one session will give us a stomach ache. Non-steroidal anti inflammatory medications can reduce swelling and pain, but ingesting a bottle at one time will kill our liver. Making a soccer match competitive can push every player on the team to perform at their best. Making that same match too competitive or make it competitive off the pitch (between parents and coaches), and feelings can get hurt, bad behaviors can be brought out, and kids can be driven from he game altogether. It is our responsibility as adults to understand the differences between healthy and unhealthy competition - and how to communicate competition (to give it context). We have to place and maintain a healthy wrapper of safety around our players to ensure we don't introduce unhealthy competition or messages into the mix. A dad booming across the field to "Take that kid out!" or someone exhibiting celebratory behavior when a player from the opposing team gets hurt: these are two examples of  unhealthy competition and unhealthy messaging that can negatively affect our kids.Car rides home can be equally toxic. When mom or dad is bad mouthing the referee or the coach, building excuses for a loss or pointing fingers for something that didn't work out the way we wanted - each of these behaviors contribute to an unhealthy dynamic that our kids can and do pick up on and internalize. They carry those behaviors forward in life and can become overly critical of others, of themselves, and/or fail to take responsibility for their own actions. checkDrives us to learn at a faster rate and perform at a higher levelcheckTeaches us to bring our best effortcheckHelps us to manage nervescheckTeaches us not to fear competitioncheckTeaches us to take riskscheckTeaches kids how to cope when things don't go their waycheckHelps kids with goal settingcheckTeaches kids good work ethicscheckTeaches kids to play by the rulescheckTeaches kids to win and lose with gracecheckTeaches time managementcheckCompetition can build self-esteemcheckCompetition can teach commitmentcheckBuilding esprit de corpscheckCompetition can help kids to perform better in schoolcheckUnhealthy Performance PressurecheckInappropriate feelings of superioritycheckSelf esteem tied to sport performancecheck Deep diving into one sport can limit exposure and athletic IQcheckOveruse injuriescheckLosing the "fun" in sport, ultimately driving kids away from athletic activities by their mid-teenscheckPoor examples of sportsmanship. Showing kids the wrong way to behavecheckObjectifying players for the sake of sideline entertainmentcheck"Adultizing" kids well before their timecheckIt can lead to demoralizing or bullying behaviorcheckDelusions of scholarship opportunitiescheckStrained relationships with parentscheckMore focus on "WHETHER" kids win vs "HOW" kids winThe positives work when we, as adults, get deliberate about framing competition in a healthy way. If the coach or the parents are too focused on whether or not kids are winning, rather than HOW they are winning, the scales begin to tilt in the negative direction. ""Wake up out there!," "What's wrong with you?!,

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