Can Fun and Competitiveness Thrive Together in Youth Sports?
Changing the Game Project shares insightful perspectives on how fun and competiveness should reside symbiotically in sports. “There is this overwhelming myth in sports that fun and competitiveness cannot coexist. To have one, you cannot have the other, and at some point, we have to choose between whether we are there to have fun in our sports experience or to compete.” This myth must be false otherwise there would not be successful happy athletes. Of which, we know there are many.
How do you make sports fun? Understanding what children consider fun is essential. “In fact, Amanda Visek, in her groundbreaking Fun Maps research, decided to ask children to help her define fun. What she discovered was that children have 81 different determinants for having fun in sports!”
Some ways children define fun:
- working hard
- being challenged and competing
- learning a new skill
- being with friends
- having a coach that cares
- getting compliments from coach
- learning from mistakes
- working as a team
- fun is getting playing time
Not surprisingly, winning is one of the fun determinants but when ranked it comes in as 48 out of 81. Children stop playing sports when they cease to have fun. So what should adults be looking at to keep children in sports so that they imbibe valuable life skills and solid values. “If we made sports about fun, following their 81 determinants as a roadmap, it would fulfill their needs and our wishes for youth sports!”
For more details: Can Youth Sports be Both Fun and Competitive?
Image Credit: Future Stars Camps