University of Redlands
Children & Competition When we were younger, we were all taught from a young age that winning was good and losing was bad. At a young age, is winning and losing a top priority for children when it comes to playing sports? Jessica Statsky claims that young children, the psychological and physical negatives are not within the children best interest, claims Jessica Stansky. Statsky also believes that highly competitive children's sports are played to adult's standers. She in addition believes adults like to play out their childhood fantasies through their children. However, Dr. Cynthia E. Johnson explains that competitive sports can teach a child about winning or losing graciously. Dr. Johnson also gives good advice for coaches and parent to help prepare children for competition. In “Children Need to Play, Not Compete,” Jessica Statsky argues that sports for younger children should not be as competitive as those for adults. She explains that losing a game for a five-year-old is different compared to losing at the age of twelve, because the twelve-year-old is more psychologically equipped to understand losing a game. Losing might cause a five-year-old to lose interest in playing sports in the future. Statsky states, “Winning and losing may be an inevitable part of adult life, but they should not be a part of childhood.” Children should remember playing sports as good times of participating in things that make them happy, and not be stressing about winning, losing, or getting hurt in the game. Children's sports have become overly competitive in the sense that adult's rules are over powering the young player's game. Good examples of these adult rules are when children are taught how to tackle in Pee Wee football. Statsky explains that slamming into other children during Peewee Football can cause children’s bodies to take on intense physical activities before they are fully developed to handle that kind of stress. In baseball, children are taught to throw curve balls, which could possibly strain muscles in the arm and shoulder, which could leave that child with a life-long injury. If a child is hurt bad enough, it could cause him not to want to play any sports and not be a fan of sports in the future. On the other hand, sports can cause emotional injury as well. Statsky gives two examples of this psychological damage. The first is a child who is afraid to get hurt during his little league baseball game, so he tells his coach that his tummy hurts, and the coach does not listen to him. Once the coach looks away the child sticks his finger down his throat and vomits to prove that his stomach hurt. The child was undermining his self-confidence. The second example was children, who are happy during the warm up before their baseball game, but once the coaches’ whistle has blown, the children lose their smiles. The sport has now become a job instead of a fun game. Another disadvantage to children competing is a child feeling or being humiliated because he/she is not as good of a player as other children. Competition can cause hostility and aggression towards others before a child is even able to understand. Furthermore, adults are getting too involved in youth sports practices; this does not allow a child to play the game for fun. By paying too much attention to the outcome of the game, the child will lose focus on the fun of learning a new sport. Statsky believes that winning the game is more important these days to the adults, and this is how sports become like a job to the children. Even though winning can be fun, it should not be the main goal for a child. For example, if a child is joining a sport for the first time, the parent should talk to the child and let thim/her know that it is not about winning and who is the best; It is about learning how to play.
Dr. Cynthia E. Johnson gives some guidelines and example on how to help parents and